Felony Charges in Pasco County
If you were arrested for a felony offense in Pasco County, FL, you might be required to attend a first appearance advisory hearing before being allowed to bond out of jail.
During the 21 days after a felony arrest, the State Attorney’s Office will conduct an “invest.” During the “invest,” the prosecutor will speak to any alleged victim or critical witnesses.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, these meetings took place in person. The witness would receive a subpoena to appear in person at the State Attorney’s Office. During the COVID-19 crisis, many of these meetings are occurring over the phone or remote video conferencing.
If you retain an attorney immediately after the arrest, your attorney can contact the State Attorney’s Office to present mitigating evidence. We often talk with witnesses and then provide a summary of the testimony to the prosecutor. In some cases, we ask the witness to write an affidavit explaining what they know about the case.
The actions taken by your criminal defense attorney might make the difference in convincing the prosecutor not to file any charges during that 21 day period after the arrest.
Attorney for Felony Charges in Pasco County, FL
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients charged with felony charges in Pasco County, FL. These cases are prosecuted at the courthouse in New Port Richey and Dade City, FL.
We can represent you at every stage of the case, including the first appearance advisory hearing that takes place the next day after the arrest if you are not allowed to immediately bond out of jail.
Our criminal defense attorneys are familiar with the procedures used by prosecutors at the State Attorney’s Office when investigating felony offenses.
In these cases, it is important to have a criminal defense attorney who can present all of the favorable evidence to the prosecutor in an attempt to show them while less serious charges or no charges should be file.
State Attorney’s Investigations in Felony Cases in Pasco County
The victims of felony crimes in Pasco County, FL, and critical witnesses might be notified of a meeting at the State Attorney’s Office for an “invest.” The “invest” is a face to face meeting that provides the alleged victim or critical witness with an opportunity to provide a sworn statement to a prosecutor regarding the incident.
The “invest” meeting with the prosecutor provides the alleged victim or witness with the opportunity to provide input regarding whether the charges should be filed or what should happen at the sentencing. The face to face meeting gives the prosecutor the opportunity to evaluate the testimony of the alleged victim or witnesses.
Although the defendant and his attorney are not present, the defense can also present information during the earliest stages of the case, including exculpatory evidence or mitigation.
What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor in Florida?
A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 265 days in the county jail. On the other hand, a felony is punishable by more than a year in prison. In addition to the
The statutory maximum amount of prison time that the court can impose depends on several factors, including how the felony is classified and the points listed on Florida’s felony scoresheet. The scoresheet takes into account the seriousness of the primary charge, any other crimes charged, the Defendant’s prior record, and the harm caused to the victim.
In Florida, felonies are classified into different degrees including:
- a third degree felony – punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and a $5,000 fine;
- a second degree felony – punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison and a $10,000 fine;
- a first degree felony – punishable by up to thirty (30) years in prison and a $10,000 fine;
- a life felony – punishable by up to life in prison without the possibility of parole or probation for the remainder of the defendant’s life and a $15,000 fine;
- a capital felony – punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole or death.
Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code Scoresheet
In 1997, the Florida Legislature enacted the Criminal Punishment Code. Any person sentenced on a felony charge has a scoresheet. The primary offense is assigned an offense severity level ranking from Levels 1 to Level 10.
On the felony scoresheet, points are assigned based upon the level ranking assigned to the primary offense. Additional offenses are also assigned points. More points might be assigned for prior convictions on the criminal history. The points must be increased for other factors such as the victim’s injury.
The lowest permissible sentence is any nonstate prison sanction in which total sentence points equal or are less than 44 points, unless the court determines that a prison sentence is appropriate.
If total sentence points exceed 44 points, the lowest permissible sentence in prison months is calculated by subtracting 28 points from the total sentence points and decreasing the remaining total by 25 percent.
Unless the court determines that mitigation exists, then the permissible sentencing range under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code scoresheet is generally the lowest permissible sentence. The court can impose a harsher sentence that is up to the statutory maximum.
This article was last updated on Friday, November 27, 2020.