Panama City Criminal Lawyer

Violent Crime in Panama City

Violent crimes are on the rise in the Panama City area. The State Attorney's Office Major Crimes Division has doubled in size since 2009 and law enforcement, armed with Florida's stringent 10-20-Life law (Florida Statutes 775.087), has put an increased emphasis on investigating and prosecuting violent crime. In 2011, there were 915 violent crime offenses reported in Bay County, a figure which includes 12 Murders and 608 cases of Aggravated Assault. The Florida Department of Corrections reports that the average sentence for a Violent Offender is 51.3 months, with the percentage of total sentence served increasing in the past decade from 74.3% to 84.7%.

Penalties for a Violent Crime Conviction

The potential penalty faced for a conviction of a violent crime depend on many factors such as whether the alleged offense is a felony or misdemeanor; the criminal history of the accused; the extent of injury suffered by the victim; the victim's age; and the applicability of minimum mandatory prison sentences. For example, an Aggravated Assault charge (Florida Statutes 784.021) is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years prison and a $5,000 fine. Aggravated Battery (Florida Statutes 784.045) is punishable by up to fifteen years prison and fines of $10,000, where Aggravated Battery with a Weapon (Florida Statutes 784.045 and 775.087) is a first degree felony carrying maximum penalties of thirty years of prison and $15,000 in fines. Offenses such as Aggravated Battery with a Firearm (Florida Statutes 784.045 and 775.087) and Burglary of a Dwelling with Battery (Florida Statutes 810.02) are felonies punishable by life. Murder (Florida Statute 782.04) carries a possible sentence of life in prison or even the death penalty.

Defending Violent Offenses /Let a Former Prosecutor Fight for You

Fortunately, there are proven strategies for defending allegations of violent crime. Some of these defenses are granted by law such as Florida Statutes, Chapter 776 titled "Justifiable Use of Force"; and Florida Statute 782.02, "Justifiable Use of Deadly Force". Other defenses such as the alleged victim's propensity toward violence are relevant and admissible in court under Florida's evidence code (Florida Statutes, Chapter 90).

Early intervention by a Panama City criminal defense attorney may make a difference in the outcome of your case. If you have been charged, named as a "person of interest", or are wanted for questioning for a violent offense, call Shepard Law for a free consultation and case evaluation on the firm's 24/7 Emergency Hotline. Mr. Shepard is a former prosecutor who has handled more than 5,000 criminal cases in the course of his career and also served as President of the Bay County Criminal Defense Bar from 2011-2015.