A criminal conviction can affect your future in many ways, such as restricting your future professional opportunities and harming your reputation in society. We understand the high stakes in these cases and will fight to keep your record clean. Prosecutors must prove each element of a criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt, so you should not feel hopeless if you have been charged. In addition to attacking the prosecution’s ability to prove certain elements of a crime, we may be able to raise procedural defenses on your behalf. Some of these defenses arise from violations of constitutional rights.
White Collar Crimes
White collar crimes include crimes that are most often non-violent and perpetrated for financial gain. They include mail fraud, wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, money laundering, identity theft, conspiracy, tax fraud, counterfeiting, Ponzi schemes, racketeering, and embezzlement. Both federal and state laws govern white collar crimes. Often, with federal white collar crimes, the FBI has conducted a deep and extensive investigation to gather evidence to convict you, and there are severe federal prison sentencing guidelines. In Florida, there are certain sentencing enhancements that apply when there are multiple victims or when the victims of a white collar crime are elderly. These cases tend to be extremely complex, and a defense may emerge only after a thorough investigation. Since the penalties are often harsh, you should make sure to retain a West Palm Beach white collar crime attorney who can build a strong defense on your behalf.DUI
Drunk driving is taken seriously by prosecutors in Florida, especially if it caused injuries. Our attorneys are former prosecutors who have been on both sides in hundreds of DUI cases. We can anticipate what a prosecutor’s next move may be. DUI can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. You may face mandatory prison time for a first offense if you are charged with felony DUI based on an accident that caused serious injuries or death. Additionally, your driver’s license may be suspended for three years for DUI manslaughter.Drug Crimes
Florida prohibits many activities related to controlled substances, including possession, possession for sale, manufacturing, transportation, and importation. If you are caught with a threshold amount of a certain controlled substance, you may be charged with trafficking even if you have no prior criminal record. Florida trafficking charges carry mandatory minimum sentences. These are sentences over which a judge or prosecutor has no discretion. However, your attorney may be able to raise a substantive, procedural, or constitutional defense that results in a dismissal, acquittal, or reduction of the charge.Sex Crimes
Sex crimes are serious charges. In addition to raising the specter of incarceration, a conviction can result in a requirement that you register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. Law enforcement aggressively pursues people who are suspected to be sex offenders. If you have been accused of a crime such as rape, statutory rape, child molestation, child pornography, human trafficking, indecent exposure, prostitution, or solicitation, it is crucial to consult an experienced attorney. There is a huge stigma attached to sex crimes, and a conviction can change your life forever.Violent Crimes
Violent crimes are aggressive, intentional acts that threaten or try to inflict physical harm. Domestic violence is a type of violent crime that can be charged when a family or household member perpetrates certain crimes against another family or household member. Family or household members include current or former spouses, blood relatives, relatives by marriage, people who are living together as family or who have previously lived together as family, and people with a child in common, regardless of marital status. The crimes that may be charged as domestic violence include assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual battery, sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated stalking, and stalking.Federal Crimes
Federal charges are brought under federal laws and in federal courts. A federal criminal charge should be taken very seriously. Even before federal charges are filed, law enforcement will have conducted an extensive investigation to gather evidence, and you may be at risk of facing harsh federal prison sentencing guidelines. Federal crimes include various types of white collar crimes, drug crimes, violent crimes, sex crimes, and weapons crimes. In some cases, defendants may face mandatory minimum sentences.Personal Injury
Our firm has a reputation for stellar client service in personal injury lawsuits. Types of lawsuits that we handle include claims arising out of car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, slip and falls, negligent security, maritime injuries, cruise ship accidents, medication errors, workplace accidents, and defective products. In most personal injury lawsuits, a victim needs to establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. This involves showing that the defendant had a duty to use reasonable care, but they caused the accident because they failed to use reasonable care. Damages in these cases may include medical bills, lost income and earning capacity, pain and suffering, and lost enjoyment of life.Car Accidents
Car accidents are a common basis for personal injury lawsuits. Drivers may breach the duty to use reasonable care by speeding, tailgating, driving drunk, driving while excessively fatigued, failing to check blind spots, or failing to obey traffic signals and signs. Often, insurance adjustors try to argue that the victim was at fault for the accident. Unless a victim was entirely at fault, however, they can recover damages that are proportionate to the defendant driver’s degree of fault. In some cases, parties other than a driver may bear some responsibility for an accident, such as the driver’s employer or a manufacturer of a defective car part.Divorce
To obtain a divorce in Florida, either your spouse or you must have lived in the state for a minimum of six months prior to filing with the court. Florida is a no-fault state, which means that you can get a divorce by establishing that your marriage is irretrievably broken. While you need not show fault, fault could influence other issues determined during the divorce. Issues that may need to be determined during a divorce may include property distribution, alimony, child support, and child custody. In many cases, the spouses can resolve any issues related to a divorce through a marital settlement agreement without proceeding to a trial.Child Custody
In Florida, divorcing spouses with children will need to develop a parenting plan that specifies a time-sharing arrangement. There are several requirements for parenting plans. These include a written description of how the parents will share responsibility for daily child-rearing. They will specify who will pay for health care and who will be responsible for school and extracurricular activities. There is no priority for either parent in time-sharing. When the parents cannot get to an agreement between themselves, or with the help of attorneys, they may need to go to mediation or ask the court to set up a parenting plan.Employment Law
Our firm represents employees in a wide range of employment matters. These include lawsuits arising out of disputes related to wages, wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, and whistleblower retaliation. Numerous federal and state laws govern these matters. Unpaid wage and overtime cases, for example, may involve employers that ask employees to work off the clock or misclassify an employee as an exempt worker to avoid paying overtime. Discrimination occurs when an employee is treated adversely by an employer because of his or her membership in a protected class, rather than his or her work performance or experience.Retain an Experienced Trial Attorney
At Whittel & Melton, our success and strong reputation are based on years of high-quality legal work. Successful trial lawyers work up cases as if they are going to trial to have sufficient bargaining power in negotiations. When clients are not offered settlements or plea bargains commensurate with what they deserve, our seasoned attorneys have the skills to try their cases. Call us at (561) 367-8777 or contact us via our online form if you need a West Palm Beach white collar crime lawyer or representation in any other criminal, personal injury, divorce, or employment matter.