I can't stress enough how important this window of time is for a criminal defense attorney. It gives me a chance to speak with the prosecutors, shedding light on issues they may otherwise ignore. By the time a filing decision is made, the prosecutor may be presuaded by my arguments, so much so that they reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor charge. While there is still an open criminal case, it is a misdemeanor. And believe me - it is much better to be in County Court dealing with a misdemeanor than in Circuit Court dealing with a felony. You can't be sent to state prison for a misdemeanor, but even the lowest degree felonies carry five years.
Getting Felony Charges Reduced to Misdemeanor Charges
Posted By Eric Matheny
A while back, I wrote a blog entry on when to hire a criminal defense attorney on a felony case. I said that a criminal defense attorney should be hired as shortly after the felony arrest as possible. This is because of the 21-30 day period in which the case goes through the Felony Screening Unit of the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office (Broward has an intake unit as well).