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Harsh Criminal Justice System
When someone waits to hire an attorney, it only makes it more likely that their side of the story will never be heard or be heard too late to make a significant difference in the outcome of the case. That's because in most cases the criminal justice process works in the following way:
The police initiate an investigation of a possible criminal act. Their primary goal is find the perpetrator without regard to whether there exists sufficient evidence to successfully bring that perpetrator to justice at trial with a guilty conviction. The police either make an arrest or defer arrest for further investigation.
It's important to understand that whatever decision is made by the relevant police agency, that decision will later be reviewed by prosecutors at the State Attorney's Office. Prosecutors may elect to file no charges or to file different charges or to file the same charges. But prosecutors aren't merely determining if a defendant committed the alleged criminal act, prosecutors use the higher standard of whether whatever charges may be filed can be won at trial. This makes sense in that the prosecutors are the ones who will try the case and must be reasonably certain of success to file a criminal charge.
If prosecutors elect not to pursue any charges, the case will end. Should prosecutors elect to file criminal charges then the criminal case will move forward thru the criminal court. A judge will set a day of trial before which the defendant will either plead guilty to a negotiated outcome or finally have his day in court before a jury of his peers - those unspeakable folks who occasionally ram your cart at Walmart. If convicted a defendant not only faces the frowning judge but the harsh Florida sentencing guidelines and scoresheets that determine sentences in Pinellas Courts from which even the most lenient judge has little room for judicial discretion to reduce a severe sentence.
Having immediate help and legal representation is essential to navigate the difficult and confusing criminal justice process from investigation by the police, to a possible arrest, to investigation of the facts and circumstances of the incident by the prosecutors and possible trial. At every stage your advocate will do everything possible to have the charges dismissed or reduced and to gain the best possible outcome in your case.