Tenacious Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving Florida Clients
FULL-SERVICE CRIMINAL DEFENSE FIRM
Our representation of you does not solely consist of us making mere court appearances. In fact, in nearly all of our cases, what you see in court is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Behind the scenes, we work diligently and aggressively on your behalf with prosecutors and judges. We have extensive contacts throughout the criminal justice system. We also conduct thorough investigations, review critical documents and evidence and interview witnesses.
At the law firm of Shafer Law, P.A., our attorneys keep you informed about exactly what is happening with your case and what will happen if you do go to court. You will be fully prepared, and there will be no surprises.
We strive to work your case around your personal situation. We understand that your case is very important to you (and us), but that each person has individual needs regarding employment, family, medical conditions, mental health and other matters about which clients ask us to intervene on their behalf.
Criminal law involves a complex and often lengthy process. Below is a summary of how your case may evolve.
STAGES OF A CASE
This may take minutes or months. Law enforcement officials have an array of investigative tools. If you think you are being investigated for criminal wrongdoing, you should call us immediately before contacting law enforcement personnel. You should never discuss your case with investigators, detectives, or police officers without a lawyer present.
Before a law enforcement officer can perform a non-consensual search for evidence, he or she must obtain a warrant from a judge. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that a search warrant be supported by proof that probable cause exists to expect the search to produce evidence of a crime. The search warrant must be supported by probable cause and clearly specify the place to be searched and the things to be seized.
Our experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys can make sure your rights are protected.
Most people are arrested physically, but some receive a Summons or a Notice to Appear. Usually within 24 hours of arrest, you appear before a judge who sets a bond. Sometimes, in the case of a misdemeanor, a judge may try to convince you to plead guilty and be sentenced. The attorneys at Shafer Law, P.A. can appear at bond hearings with very little advance notice to try to get the lowest bond possible. Often we are able to secure your release without posting a bond.
If you are arrested or taken into custody, you must be advised of your constitutional rights. This process, known as giving the Miranda warning, includes informing you of the right against self-incrimination and the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Once you express the desire to consult an attorney, questioning must cease until an attorney is present. Call us prior to answering any questions.
TRANSMISSION OF CASE TO PROSECUTOR:
Usually within hours after a bond hearing, your case is assigned to a prosecutor’s division. The prosecutor usually has a few days or weeks to evaluate the case and decide whether to pursue charges and, if so, decide what official charges to file (as opposed to arrest charges). Needless to say, this is usually the most important segment of a criminal case. Often we can persuade the State that charges should not be officially filed, or to file lesser charges than those first pressed by the police, significantly decreasing the problem you face.
When your case is on the docket and you enter a plea (Guilty, Not Guilty, No Contest). during this phase of your case, we will file a demand for discovery, which forces the government to turn over all evidence to us and provide for us to take sworn statements from listed witnesses. For example, we may want to get a private investigator to assist in your defense by gathering evidence missed by the police, or by finding and interviewing witnesses on your behalf. In most cases we are able to file a waiver of appearance and we can appear in court as your representative without you needing to appear in person.
At the pre-trial stage your case will appear before your judge for a series of status conferences before it is resolved.
Your case may be handled in several ways: plea bargain, trial, or open plea to the court. Many cases, but not all, are resolved through plea negotiations between us and the state attorney’s office. This process can take days, weeks or months to achieve the best result. If the government lawyers are being unreasonable, we may reject their offers and leave the result up to your judge. When necessary we go to trial and fight your case in front of a jury.
In some cases, the trial judge will order a pre-sentence investigation. The results of this investigation, compiled in a written report that is not made available to the public, will include details about your background and information that could affect the severity of sentence. We make sure the State looks at you as an individual, not just another case. We make sure all special circumstances are considered.
Schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys
Shafer Law, P.A. is a criminal defense law firm serving Northeast Florida. With more than eight decades of combined experience, our attorneys relish the opportunity to put their skills to work for you. Contact the firm online or call us at 904-450-5872 to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.