South Florida Criminal Attorney
Our Areas of Practice: The Law Offices of Eric M. Matheny
At The Law Offices of Eric M. Matheny, we provide high quality defense counsel in a range of criminal accusations. Our firm is professional, experienced and highly committed to each person we defend. If you are facing criminal charges you need to know that your rights will be protected and that every possible advantage will be sought. We know criminal law and the justice system and our founding attorney formerly served as the Assistant State Attorney for Miami-Dade County. His insight into the criminal justice system can benefit you greatly in defending against criminal charges.
If you are accused of entering the property of another person, business or government agency or other property, you can face charges of burglary, if law enforcement believes you had the intent to steal any items at the property. The penalties can be extensive, including forfeiture of property, prison time and restitution.
When law enforcement is called out on a domestic call, they usually make an arrest. The arrest will be based upon the alleged victim's claim that there was a threat of violence or that a violent act took place. If later the alleged victim recants, the prosecutor can still move forward with the charges against you.
Drug Crimes/Drug Trafficking
State legislators have enacted statutes that impose heavy penalties on those who are involved in the illegal distribution of controlled substances, including marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and prescription drugs. In marijuana cases, if you are found in possession of more than the "threshold" amount of the substance. The law was changed in 2008, lowering the number of plants in possession to file 2nd degree felony charges. For other drugs, any amount in possession of certain drugs will be filed as a felony.
A conviction on drug possession can lead to serious ramifications, including the loss of your driver's license, jail or prison time, as well as mandated treatment programs and a long period of probation. Based upon the substance involved, the consequences of a conviction can be extensive, permanently compromising your ability to get a job, rent or buy a home and other problems.
If law enforcement suspects you of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they have the right to pull you over. They engage in certain actions to establish probable cause to arrest you, including the smell of alcohol, open containers, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and others. They use field sobriety tests to further establish that you are intoxicated.
Expunging Criminal Records
A prior conviction or arrest can have a very negative impact on your ability to get quality employment, in business dealings, partnerships, and even in personal relationships. Any person that wishes to search for your criminal record can access it easily through the internet. It can be of great value to you to clear your criminal record so you can be free of this burden, and The Law Offices of Eric M. Matheny can assist you.
Hit & Run
It is your legal obligation to stop and render aid if you have been involved in any traffic collision. Failing to do so will lead to criminal charges. Should the collision have resulted in an injury or death, the situation is very serious legally. How your case is managed is extremely important with regard to your future freedom.
Charges of identity theft can be filed against you if it is alleged that you accessed another's personal information to get credit, get a loan, a mortgage, job, or used another person's social security number or name for any purpose. Many of these charges are filed in federal court, with other offenses tacked on, such as wire fraud if there was electronic application. The penalties can include up to 5 years of incarceration and $5,000 in fines.
Young people can make errors in judgment, or could be arrested for being with the wrong company at the wrong time. Our firm is committed to protecting the rights of juvenile charged with criminal offenses whether the case is being tried in juvenile or adult court.
Although a misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, it is not a minor legal problem. Many misdemeanor crimes can have up to 12 months in jail as part of the sentence, and fines as high as $1,000. These can include shoplifting, DUI, petty theft, solicitation, possession, prostitution and many others offenses.
There are several degrees of felony charges that could be filed in a case of murder or manslaughter. 1st degree criminal homicide can lead to the death penalty in our state. How a case of murder or manslaughter is defended, and the negotiations with the prosecuting attorney are all critical issues in a case in which a person died through a criminal act.
When part of a sentence in a conviction includes a term of probation, it is considered that you have benefited from this sentence, and the Court expects that you fully adhere to the terms. When you are accused of violating your probation, the consequences can be very severe, including being forced to serve the entire sentence in jail or prison you avoided by being put on probation.
If you have had your actions restricted by a restraining order, it can be a very difficult situation. You could be jailed if you try to access your home, your own possessions, or see your children. If you violate this restriction, you will be taken immediately into custody. Some restraining orders are based upon false accusations. You need legal representation to get these matters under control.
State law imposes very severe sentences in sex crime cases. Not only could you expect to spend time in state prison for many offenses, you will be required to register as a sex offender with your name, your picture, your address and the offense made available to anyone. The consequences can last a lifetime. How such a case is defended is extremely important to your future opportunities and even where you will be allowed to live or work.
A conviction on a rape charge, based upon the circumstances involved, could lead to a sentence of life in prison. Unfortunately, false accusations are not uncommon. Whether an individual had engaged in a consensual act and later claimed it was rape, there was a false accusation, or the charge is the result of a case of mistaken identity or other issue, your defense case should be initiated immediately.
There are a wide range of theft crimes with varying degrees of charges, from misdemeanor shoplifting through to grand theft or carjacking. The consequences in a conviction also vary widely, but even a misdemeanor conviction will have a very negative impact on your life, including your future employment. The quality of your South Florida criminal defense lawyer is a critical issue in theft offenses.
The value of an item that is alleged to have been stolen will determine whether a shoplifting charge is filed as a misdemeanor or a felony. An item that is valued at under $300, on a first offense, will be a misdemeanor, with possible penalties of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. If you have prior convictions for shoplifting, you could face up to 5 years in prison in some cases.
Certain traffic offenses can lead to very serious consequences, particularly criminal traffic offenses such as hit & run, certain DUI offenses such as those involving an accident with injury, as well as street racing, vehicular manslaughter and others. These traffic offenses can lead to long prison terms and heavy fines, as well as a felony conviction on your permanent criminal record.
Violent Crimes/Firearm Crimes
Criminal allegations in cases of violent crime are very dangerous in Florida. State legislators have increased the penalties for all crimes that involve firearms, which can bring the 10-20-Life law into play. Whether your criminal charge involves assault, rape, murder, manslaughter, robbery, carjacking or other violent crime, you must have a skilled South Florida criminal attorney representing you immediately.
Bench warrants are issued when a person has failed to arrive for a court hearing or trial. Search warrants are issued when a judge deems there is enough evidence in a case to make it legal to search your car, home, place of work or other property. An arrest warrant can be issued when you fail to adhere to the terms of your probation, or when you are accused of committing a crime. The law allows for you to be taken immediately into custody after a warrant is issued.
White Collar Crimes
Criminal offenses that are financial in nature are termed white collar crimes. These can include bank fraud, mortgage fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, accounting fraud, tax fraud, embezzlement, forgery of legal documents, health care fraud, insurance fraud, fraudulent investment schemes such as Ponzi schemes, as well as others. These cases require a highly skilled defense lawyer to get involved as early as possible, and prior to answering any questions if you are a suspect.
At The Law Offices of Eric M. Matheny, we provide aggressive and creative defense counsel in every case we take on.