Options to Resolve your Criminal Case
In general, there are four options available to resolve a criminal case:
- Diversion Programs
- Plea Negotiations
Which Option to Choose?
By far the most difficult discussion I have with clients is which option to choose.
The answer boils down to how risk averse are you. Because, in a criminal case you must ask yourself: "Are you willing to risk going to jail?"
For many, the answer is easy - diversion or a plea. For others, the answer is difficult because of the facts in their case. And for a select few, the answer is obvious; anything short of an outright acquittal is unacceptable.
Finally, because diversionary programs and plea agreements require the prosecutor's cooperation, I usually advise clients to pursue them first. As we can always reinitiate litigation or elect a trial later if we decide against a diversionary program or plea.
In general, diversion programs are similar to being place on probation; as you have to report monthly, attend short classes, and complete community service. However, they have two great benefits:
- You do not have to admit any guilt, and
- The charges are dismissed upon successful completion!
Pretrial Diversion (PTD) is a diversionary program run by the State Attorney's Office and is usually reserved for first time, nonviolent offenders.
PTD is similar to probation, in that once you are accepted into the program you must report monthly to a supervising officer, undergo random drug testing, complete community service hours, and refrain from being involved in any criminal activity.
Additionally, Pretrial Diversion requires the permission of the victim in your case (if there is one). Your charges will be dropped upon successful completion of the PTD program.
The length of PTD depends on the seriousness of your charges and how quickly you can complete the program's requirements. Generally, PTD lasts a minimum of six (6) months for misdemeanor cases and twelve (12) months for felony cases.
Pretrial Intervention (PTI) is similar to PTD but is open to repeat offenders. Once accepted into PTI you must report monthly, undergo a drug evaluation and treatment, complete other requirements ordered by the court (i.e. community service or donation), and refrain from being re-arrested. Your charges will be dropped upon successful completion of the PTI program.
Importantly, even though you may be eligible for PTI, many attorneys are unfamiliar with the program because it is only offered by certain prosecutors or judges. As a result it is important to hire an attorney familiar with the individual prosecutors and judges to insure you are properly referred.
Drug Court is a diversion program for repeat drug offenders and people who have an intense drug addiction. Drug Court can last up to 36 months (but can be completed in as little as nine months) and includes intensive drug treatment and group therapy.
If you are ineligible for (or unwilling to enter) a diversion program, chances are I can still resolve your case with minimal sanctions. This resolution will usually include:
- Withholding the Formal Adjudication of Guilt
- Reduced Charges or Dismissed Counts
If you (or the prosecutor) are unwilling to negotiate, we will litigate your case fully. I would utilize the following proceedings to work towards the result you want.
Police must have probable cause, or valid consent, to stop and search you or your home. However, police are notorious for searching people on less than probable cause or under coerced consent.
Even though you might think the police acted lawfully, I may still be able to identify an illegal searched or seizure, have the evidence thrown out, and your case dismissed.
Cases can be dismissed because:
- Cases are too old,
- Your Speedy Trial rights were violated, or
- The undisputed facts don't support a crime.
When all other legal defenses have been exhausted and you are unwilling to accept anything less than a dismissal, it is often necessary to present your case to a jury to prove your innocence.
Importantly, I try cases regularly and have the experience to take your case to trial. Review my criminal jury verdicts so that you can see the types of cases I have tried and the results I have obtained.
Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby
If you or a loved one have been arrested or charged with a crime in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.
The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.