Criminal Law

Drug Offenses

The state of Florida takes drug crimes very seriously, with laws providing for significant punishment for anyone caught using, manufacturing or selling controlled substances.  The penalties for drug offenses in Florida vary greatly by the type and amount of drug involved.  There are five categories of controlled substances in Florida, which are grouped based on the dangerousness of the drug and its potential for addiction:

  1. Schedule I: these drugs have a high potential for abuse and no legitimate medical use. Drugs in this category include heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana.
  2. Schedule II: the substances in this category have a high potential for abuse, but may be used in a medical setting in a severely restricted way. This category includes opiates (such as morphine) and methamphetamine.
  3. Schedule III: drugs in this category have the potential to be abused and an accepted medical use.  It includes substances such as anabolic steroids.
  4. Schedule IV: this category is for substances that have a low potential for abuse and accepted medical uses. Drugs in this category may include medications used to treat anxiety, sleep or depression.
  5. Schedule V: drugs in this group have a very low potential for abuse and accepted medical uses. Drugs in this category include cough medications with low levels of codeine.

Penalties for drug possession, manufacture and sale range from one year in jail and a $1,000 fine to a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A conviction for a drug-related offense can have many additional consequences, such as losing your job, being denied government benefits, including student loans and housing, and even losing your right to vote.  

The potential repercussions for a drug offense in Florida make it incredibly important that you have a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side.  A tenacious lawyer can help to negotiate a deal to have the charges reduced or dismissed, or take the case to trial to protect your freedom.

Internet Offenses

In Florida and across the country, new laws have been enacted to criminalize using technology to commit crimes. These laws cover a number of different potential crimes, including:

  • Child Pornography: it is a crime to make, store, receive or distribute child pornography.
  • Online Child Solicitation: this crime involves using a computer to ask a child for sex.  
  • Identify Theft: using the internet to steal personal identification or financial information is an offense.
  • Internet Fraud: this covers everything from email scams to defrauding people on auction or sale sites like eBay and Craigslist
  • Hacking: it is a crime to “break into” another person’s computer or accounts without permission, or to use a virus to prevent a person from using their computer

There are a number of potential defenses to internet offenses, including that someone else used your computer or internet, or that the police illegally obtained the evidence. A seasoned Tallahassee criminal defense attorney can explore options to defend against these charges, which may be brought at either the federal or state level.  If you have been arrested for an internet offense, it is critical that you contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.

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Embezzlement is a type of theft that occurs when a person had legal access to money or property and then takes it without permission for his own gain.  It can happen in a number of situations:

  • A volunteer takes money from an organization to cover her own bills.
  • A family member with access to an elderly person’s bank accounts steals money instead of using it to pay the elderly person’s bills.
  • An officer or director of a corporation takes the company’s money for his own use.

However the crime arises, the penalties for embezzlement depend on the value and type of property stolen. The penalties range from up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine for a theft of between $300 and $20,000 to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for a theft of $100,000 or more. 

If you have been charged with embezzlement, an experienced Tallahassee criminal defense attorney can evaluate the case against you and determine if there are any legal or factual defenses to the charge.  A lawyer can also explore alternatives to criminal punishment that may be available, including paying back the money that was taken.  

Major Crimes

Florida law penalizes a wide variety of behavior with jail terms, fines, community service and more.  Major crimes are often categorized as felonies, which are the most serious type of offense.  There are five degrees of felony offenses in Florida:

  1. Capital Felony: This type of felony is punishable by either life in prison or the death penalty. Examples of capital felony include first-degree murder.
  2. Life Felony: These crimes are punished by 40 years to life in prison. It can include a range of serious crimes, including murder and rape. 
  3. Felony in the First Degree: A first-degree felony can result in a jail term of up to 30 years.  It includes crimes like drug trafficking and burglary.  
  4. Felony in the Second Degree: These crimes are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Second-degree felonies include crimes such as aggravated battery and robbery.
  5. Felony in the Third Degree: The least serious of the felony charges, third-degree felonies are still punishable by up to 5 years in prison.  Examples of third-degree felonies include aggravated assault and possession of a controlled substance.

Major crime cases include sexual assault, robbery, arson, assault, identity theft and burglary.  Because of the seriousness of these crimes, it is imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after being charged with any felony offense.  An experienced criminal defense attorney can assess your case and determine if there are any possible defenses that could lead to a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Tallahassee

If you’ve been charged with a crime, you need a criminal defense attorney who knows the law and will aggressively fight for your freedom. At Norris Law, we zealously represent our clients in all types of criminal cases. Contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.