Criminal Defense

With more than 300 criminal charges in the State of Florida, the penalties surrounding a criminal conviction tend to vary tremendously and can also be quite severe. Penalties can involve harsh fines, fees and/or imprisonment. If you are undergoing a criminal investigation or arrested and being faced with a possible conviction, you can become overwhelmed, frightened and confused. You may wonder how it will affect your personal and professional situations and relationships, what your rights are and how to protect them.

The Right Defense. At The Right Time.

Choosing the right Criminal Defense Attorney is paramount in your representation. Timely negotiation and preparation by the proper attorney will help build a strong defense in achieving the best possible outcome, and protect your freedom and your future. With over 25 years of combined knowledge and experience, the attorneys here at Albert & Donnelly have made a commitment to our clients to be both supportive and informative as their case progresses, so that they are prepared to make the right decisions throughout the uncertain criminal defense process. We offer you the highest quality of legal expertise, and do so ethically, effectively and professionally. Our attorneys have maintained excellent relationships with law enforcement and various State Attorneys throughout the State of Florida over the years, and are thus thoroughly familiar with the workings of the court system. We know that the outcome of any criminal case is largely dependent upon the specificity of facts surrounding the crime. Sometimes, evidence may have been mismanaged by law enforcement, or the State might lack the necessary testimonial evidence to prove their argument against you. With skillful representation and the proper criminal defense, our attorneys may be able to accomplish reduced charges, reduced fines or dismissal of your case. When you contact Albert & Donnelly, you will be speaking directly with one of our Criminal Defense Attorneys, and we can confidentially discuss your legal situation. Evening and weekend appointments are available as well as jail appointments, when appropriate.

View each area of criminal law in detail (click section to expand)
A felony is any crime punishable by a prison term of more than a year. Much like a misdemeanor, a felony conviction can also result in probation, fines, and court costs in lieu of, and/or in addition to, prison time. Additionally, a conviction for a felony offense can lead to being placed on community control, commonly referred to as “house arrest.” A felony conviction can also prevent you from maintaining personal and professional relationships, buying a home, obtaining a job, and can permanently tarnish your reputation. Entering a plea to a felony offense will quite likely make you ineligible to enter any branch of the United States military. You can lose your civil rights, your ability to vote or carry a firearm and your actual freedom if you are imprisoned. Put simply, a conviction for a felony offense can drastically affect your future. If you have recently been detained, arrested or are currently under investigation as a suspect in a felony offense, you will need a skilled, devoted attorney to fight for your rights. The State utilizes their most experienced prosecutors to handle felony cases. If you choose to forego an attorney and represent yourself in criminal court, you have a higher chance of losing against such prosecutors. The attorneys at Albert & Donnelly are proficient criminal defense lawyers who, with their extensive backgrounds as State Prosecutors, are now dedicated in defending the rights of those who have been accused of committing a crime. Their knowledge and experience have facilitated them in taking on cases successfully and having a thorough understanding of felony offenses in Florida. We know what you might be facing, how devastating it can be and how your case may affect your family and your future. We intend to fully dedicate ourselves to each case with care and diligence, knowing that your very life may be at stake.
Levels of Felony Offenses in Florida

In the state of Florida, a felony offense includes, but is not limited to, Murder, Manslaughter, Sex Crimes, Assault & Battery, Grand Theft, Burglary, and some cases involving DUI. Additionally, Florida has several charges that can be filed as felony offenses simply based on having prior convictions. These charges include Driving On A Suspended License, Battery and Theft. A felony is commonly defined by the possible sentence it carries and is classified under five categories: Capital, Life, 1st Degree, 2nd Degree and 3rd Degree felonies.

  • Capital Felony: This relates to the most serious criminal offenses such as murder, and can carry life sentence in prison or the death penalty. These are typically murder charges.
  • 1st Degree Felony: First Degree Felonies are extremely serious and can result in a prison term of up to 30 years. In some cases, the law allows for even longer sentences. Florida Law provides very specific periods of imprisonment along with fines. Convictions for crimes such as Drug Trafficking carry a minimum fine of $25,000 and a minimum mandatory period of incarceration of three years.
  • 2nd Degree Felony: Second Degree Felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in a State Prison. These crimes are considered to be quite severe, and can include charges involving aggravated battery and also carry a $10,000 fine.
  • 3rd Degree Felony: This is the least severe of the felony categories and includes most charges for drug possession, grand theft, forgery and fraudulent use of personal identity information. A conviction of a 3rd Degree Felony can result in prison time of up to 5 years. Fines may be up to $5,000.

A great number of cases may be eligible for Diversionary Programs such as Pre-Trial Intervention or Drug Court, which can result in the dismissal of charges upon successful completion. There are other alternatives available, which our attorneys will be pleased to discuss with you, upon your initial consultation. To schedule your consultation, please contact the Law Firm of Albert & Donnelly.

In Florida, Misdemeanors are prosecuted in the County Court and fall into two categories:

  • 1st Degree: Crimes punishable by up to one (1) year in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00
  • 2nd Degree: Crimes punishable by up to sixty (60) days in the county jail and a fine of up to $500.00

Some of the other penalties commonly imposed for misdemeanor offenses include: the Sheriff’s Work Farm, probation, community service, restitution, drug testing and substance abuse treatment.

The law firm of Albert and Donnelly has zealously represented hundreds of clients charged with any of Florida’s misdemeanor criminal offense(s). Some of the more coming misdemeanors include:

  • Possession of cannabis (marijuana)
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Domestic Violence Battery
  • Driving Under the Influence (first and second offense)
  • Reckless Driving
  • Driving while license suspended (with knowledge)
  • Retail theft
  • Petit theft
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Resisting arrest (without violence)
  • Trespassing
  • Prostitution or soliciting for prostitution

While misdemeanor penalties are less severe than those imposed for felony offenses, the consequences can still be devastating. For example, a conviction for possession of even a few grams of marijuana can result in a two (2) year suspension of your driver’s license. Stealing something as insignificant as a pack of cigarettes may result in a criminal conviction for theft, and a permanent criminal record. Many misdemeanor offenses including petit theft are considered crimes of “moral turpitude”, meaning conduct that is considered “contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals”. A conviction for this type of crime can be disastrous in terms of future employment opportunities. When applying for a job, a promotion or a security clearance, the military, government agencies and many private employers will not even consider applicants with a conviction involving moral turpitude.

Skilled Negotiators

Even if the crime does not involve moral turpitude, any criminal conviction carries a stigma that can follow you for the rest of your life. This is exactly why it is so important to retain the competent legal counsel of Albert & Donnelly. With our help, you may be able to:

  • Avoid an adjudication of guilt (criminal conviction)
  • Reduce or avoid a jail sentence
  • Reduce or avoid community service, fines, costs or other penalties
  • Enter into a diversionary program and have the charges dismissed

Not Guilty!

The defense team at Albert and Donnelly has the finely tuned litigation skills developed through years of courtroom experience. If your case requires litigation, you can rest assured that we will effectively argue your case and assert your rights at an evidentiary hearing or jury trial. Our attorneys have successfully represented hundreds of people charged with misdemeanor offenses and stand ready to fight for your liberty and reputation.

Florida Statute 316.193 states that you are guilty of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if you are driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent your normal faculties are impaired OR you have a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher.

When you obtained your Florida Driver’s License, you consented to any lawful test of your blood, breath or urine for the purpose of determining its alcohol content or the presence of controlled substances while driving. Therefore, your refusal to submit to such a test when requested by law enforcement, or test results of over .08, will result in the administrative suspension of your driver’s license for twelve (12) months. If you are arrested for DUI, it is important to remember that you have ONLY TEN (10) DAYS TO CONTEST THE ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSION OF YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE. As soon as our law firm is retained to represent you, we request a Former Review Hearing to fight the suspension of your driver’s license and secure a temporary driving permit so that you can continue to legally drive.

In the meantime, the State Attorney’s office will make a decision as to whether you will be prosecuted for the DUI charge you were arrested for. The Florida legislature has created some very stiff penalties for DUI. Additionally, the prosecutor will seek other sanctions. If you are convicted of even a first offense DUI, you can expect the following penalties:

  • A fine of at least $500.00 (up to $1,000.00)
  • A driver’s license suspension for a minimum of 6 months (up to 12 months)
  • Imprisonment for up to six (6) months in the county jail
  • Community Service Hours – usually 50
  • Court Costs
  • Cost of Prosecution
  • Cost of Investigation
  • DUI class
  • Victim Awareness Program
  • Ten (10) day vehicle immobilization
  • Alcohol and Substance Abuse Evaluation and follow-up treatment
  • Random testing for drugs and alcohol (at your expense)
The penalties for second and subsequent DUI convictions are even more severe. For example, a third offense can be considered a felony punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and a fourth offense can result in the permanent revocation of your driver’s license.

Over 27 years of Combined Experience

As former prosecutors for the Brevard County State Attorney’s Office, Attorneys John Albert and Michael Donnelly know what evidence the State of Florida needs to secure a conviction for driving under the influence. As defense attorneys, Mr. Albert and Mr. Donnelly have successfully represented hundreds of people charged with driving under the influence.

Choosing the right attorney and the right law firm is perhaps the single most important factor in determining the outcome of your case. Albert & Donnelly will zealously defend your rights and seek the best possible outcome in your individual case. With our representation, you may be able to:

  • Regain your driving privileges
  • Reduce your fines and costs
  • Avoid jail time
  • Reduce community service hours
  • Reduce your charges to a lesser offense
  • Have the charges completely dismissed

Additionally, Albert & Donnelly is a full-service law firm. We handle all the paperwork and attend all of your court appearances so that you won’t have to worry about going to court until the conclusion of your case. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.

Oftentimes, a past criminal history can be impactful on your personal and your professional life. It can hamper the advancement of your career, prevent you from receiving a scholarship and sometimes prohibit your acceptance to a university or graduate program, thus making it difficult to procure a stable future for you and your loved ones.

Having a criminal record can prevent you from maintaining an ordinary lifestyle. With the help of our attorneys at Wilson, Albert & Donnelly however, you can change the negative impact of your criminal history with an Expungement of your records. An Expungement or Sealing is a process in which someone’s criminal records are legally “erased”. This process is available in Florida to anyone who wishes to remove their criminal records from public view.

You may be eligible for an Expungement if you were found innocent at Trial, had charges against you dropped, or if you received a deferred adjudication. Once your record has been successfully expunged, it is closed to public viewing and your arrest record is destroyed.

You may be eligible for a Sealing if you entered a plea to an offense but received a withhold of adjudication, something less than a formal finding of guilt. Once your record has been successfully sealed, it is closed to public viewing and your arrest record is sealed and only available in certain situations.

In either event, if successful in court, you may then lawfully deny the incident to any potential employer or other entity.

Let Us Help You Clear Your Record

Due to today’s popularity and prevalence of the internet, an individual’s past is no longer regarded as private as it once was. If you have a criminal history, or even an arrest that occurred several years before, your records might be at the fingertips of a potential employer or creditor, and could follow you around for the rest of your life. An Expungement or Sealing will allow you to eliminate any worry of your past becoming a hindrance in your future.

At Albert & Donnelly, we are readily capable of assisting anyone who is interested in an Expungement or Sealing. With the utmost discretion, we will be able to tell you if you are eligible for this process and help you through it step by step. There are many criminal offenses that can be expunged or sealed from your records. And because you may only have one chance in which to do so, you will want the best possible outcome, and our attorneys are experienced and dedicated in securing just that.

With your free initial consultation, we will ensure that you qualify to have your criminal history expunged or sealed. Also, we will explain to you how a criminal record is sealed, what an Expungement accomplishes, the types of felonies or misdemeanors that can be expunged or sealed, how long the actual process takes and where to begin.

We understand the importance of having a clear record and how one mistake or mischaracterization may affect your future educational or employment opportunities. It is for these reasons which our attorneys will be diligent and dedicated in working with you to ensure you move forward with a sense of relief, knowing that your past is secure.

To discuss your possible Expungement or Sealing, contact our Law Office.

The state of Florida can be quite harsh when penalizing for marijuana possession and many other drug-related offenses. From personal prescribed drug misuse to widely recognized illegal drug abuse, you can be faced with the possibility of mandatory minimum sentences or the possibility of steep fines. With the very real possibility of significant penalties, you need an experienced and fervent attorney on your side.

At Albert & Donnelly, you will have the expertise and experience of two former prosecutors who are not only quite adept and knowledgeable about both prosecution and defense, but who are passionate about protecting your rights. If you fear you may be under investigation or have recently been arrested, you should consider contacting us immediately.

We can confidently defend you on any or all state drug charges involving:

  • Marijuana possession
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Controlled substances e.g. cocain, heroin, meth, LSD, etc.
  • “Date rape” or “club” drugs e.g. MDMA, GHB, Ecstasy
  • Illegal prescription narcotics e.g. Oxycontin, Percocet, etc.
  • Drug sales or intent to distribute
  • Drug trafficking, importation and conspiracy
  • Marijuana cultivation or Methamphetamine manufacture
  • Firearm enhancements

Penalties

Penalties for Drug Charges can result include probation, community control (commonly referred to as “house arrest”), significant fines and even prison time. Additionally, when arrested for a drug offense, the arresting agency may seek the forfeiture of your assets and/or possessions, this could include your car or even your home. Your Driver’s License and professional or business license can be revoked. The penalties surrounding Drug Offenses are severe. There can be fines, random drug tests, strict probation restrictions and mandatory counseling or treatments. Also, drug charges become public record, your employers will be notified and such charges will have lingering repercussions.

IN FLORIDA, A CONVICTION ASSOCIATED WITH ANY DRUG OFFENSE CAN RESULT IN HAVING YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENDED FOR TWO YEARS

Your Defense

Due to the unmitigated expertise of the defense attorneys here at Albert & Donnelly, and their understanding of the methods practiced by the prosecution, they are proactive and successful in your immediate defense. Whether the prosecution’s defense consists of evidence obtained through a traffic stop, search or undercover sting, they are devout in minimizing any consequences that arise from such charges.

Our attorneys will examine any and all allegations associated with your case; they ask the questions and investigate the angles necessary to procure your protection. On drug possession charges, we consider the probable cause associated with your arrest: Why were you stopped or questioned? Were you the only person charged? Were there drugs in plain view? Did you authorize a search?

If you are charged with a third degree felony and possess no prior convictions or offenses, you might qualify for Drug Court. In such an instance, charges can be dismissed if your treatment is successfully completed and most likely, avoid any prison time or additional penalties.

We are determined to protect your rights and freedom in both Florida State Courts and Federal Courts. The Florida Legislature is very strict on drug use and takes seriously the many restrictions imposed when convicting someone on drug possession, drug purchase and/or sales and drug trafficking. The significance of a drug charge varies, depending on the amount and type of drugs in question.

These drug offenses can be filed in either State or Federal Court, depending on what agency was involved during the arrest and the nature surrounding the initial drug charge. Despite the charge, or if it is considered a State or Federal case, you will benefit from the knowledge and expertise from the attorneys at Albert & Donnelly, LLC.

In order to schedule your free consultation with one of our skilled defense attorneys, please contact us.

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