Pensacola Criminal Defense Attorney

criminal defense

Being arrested or charged with a crime can be one of the most overwhelming experiences you’ll ever face. The prospect of jail or prison time, heavy fines, and a mark on your criminal record can add significant anxiety and stress. You might feel like the entire system is stacked against you.

That’s why you need an experienced Pensacola criminal defense attorney to level the playing field for you. If you’ve been arrested and charged or are under investigation for a crime in Pensacola, turn to Cardoso Law, PLLC for the top-notch representation you need and deserve.

Our firm aims to help clients navigate the intimidating, often-confusing criminal justice system. We know that can be a difficult experience, especially if you face criminal charges for the first time. You deserve a legal advocate who offers guidance, compassion, and respect.

When you hire us to defend you against criminal charges in Pensacola, we will take the time to listen to your story and seek a fair and favorable result. You will have a close working relationship with us throughout your case, and we will regularly update you on developments and promptly respond to your questions and concerns. Contact Cardoso Law, PLLC, for an initial case review with a Pensacola criminal lawyer today.

Types of Criminal Cases Our Law Firm Handles

A Pensacola criminal defense lawyer from Cardoso Law, PLLC, will be ready to fight for your freedom and future if you are facing criminal charges such as these.

Assault and Battery

The offenses of assault and battery, although often spoken of together or used interchangeably, refer to two distinct crimes.

Assault refers to the offense of making a threat or doing an act that puts a victim in reasonable fear of imminent injury, because the perpetrator has the apparent ability to carry out their threat. An assault conviction requires proving that a perpetrator intentionally made an unlawful threat; the perpetrator had the apparent ability to carry out that threat; and the threat put the victim in reasonable fear of imminent harm.

Florida criminal law also outlaws more egregious behavior under the offense of aggravated assault, such as committing an assault with a firearm or against certain categories of victims, such as elderly persons, pregnant women, and law enforcement officers.

The offense of battery involves an unwanted and offensive touching of another person’s body. A battery conviction requires proving either that a perpetrator intentionally touched another person in an offensive manner without that person’s consent, or that a perpetrator intentionally inflicted physical injury on another person.

Assault and battery have several legal defenses, including:

  • Lack of intent to touch or injure the victim.
  • Self-defense, or the use of reasonable or proportional force to protect themselves or a third party against physical harm. Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground law means that a person does not have a duty to retreat from a threat before employing self-defense.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence refers to a group of criminal offenses committed in a familial or household relationship. Offenses that fall within domestic violence include:

  • Assault or aggravated assault
  • Battery or aggravated battery
  • Sexual assault or battery
  • Stalking or aggravated stalking
  • False imprisonment
  • Kidnapping

In addition, any criminal offense that causes physical injury or death of a family or household member can give rise to a domestic violence charge.

Categories of relationships covered by Florida’s domestic violence statute include:

  • Current or former dating or intimate relationship where the partners resided together
  • Current or former marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership
  • Having a child in common, including an expected child
  • Family members who reside or have resided in the same household
  • Roommates/housemates

A conviction for a domestic violence offense, in addition to the applicable underlying crime, can have consequences that include:

  • The requirement to complete a Batterers Intervention Program and community service
  • The imposition of a no-contact order
  • An injunction that bars an offender from purchasing, owning, or possessing firearms

Domestic Violence Injunctions

Domestic violence injunctions refer to a court order intended to protect a victim of domestic violence. Different kinds of injunctions may be imposed based on the relationship between the offender and the victim.

A person can petition the court to issue a domestic violence injunction if they have suffered an act of domestic violence or reasonably believe they face an imminent risk of domestic violence.

If the court finds that a petition has merit, it will issue a temporary injunction and schedule a hearing to determine whether to issue a final, permanent injunction.

Drug Crimes

Drug crimes in Florida involve the cultivation/production, trafficking, distribution, sale, or possession of controlled substances.

Controlled substances are classified under state and federal schedules based on the risk of injury or addiction posed by a controlled substance and the substance’s accepted medical uses.

Schedule I drugs include illicit substances with no accepted medical purpose, such as heroin, LSD, or MDMA/ecstasy.

Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances include other drugs like opium, morphine, Percocet, Adderall, Xanax, Vicodin, and anabolic steroids that have accepted medical uses.

In addition, marijuana requires a valid medical prescription to possess and consume.

Other drug crimes include unlawfully acquiring or possessing prescription drugs, possessing drug paraphernalia, or driving under the influence of controlled substances.

Most drug crimes in Florida are felony offenses, with the degree of felony dependent on the type and quantity of drug involved.

DUI (Driving Under the Influence)

Florida law makes it illegal for a motorist to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more, or 0.02 percent for drivers under the age of 21. The law defines “operating” a vehicle more broadly than actively driving. Operating includes simply being in physical control of a motor vehicle, such as sitting in the front seat with the car keys.

Florida also has an implied consent law that requires drivers to submit to a breath test if arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Refusing a blood test following arrest may lead to the suspension of driving privileges.

Even if a breath or blood test indicates an unlawful level of alcohol intoxication, drivers may have defenses to a DUI charge, including:

  • Challenging the legality of the initial traffic stop.
  • Showing that police failed to follow proper testing procedures.
  • Testing irregularities, such as failure to calibrate testing equipment or maintain chain-of-custody of samples, call the validity of results into question.
  • Lack of evidence of the driver’s actual control of the vehicle.

Theft and Property Crimes

Theft and property crimes include offenses involving stolen property, damage to real or personal property, or unauthorized intrusion into private premises. Examples of common theft and property crimes include:

  • Larceny, or the taking of another person’s property with the intent to deprive them of ownership
  • Shoplifting, or the taking of merchandise with the intent to deprive a retailer of the merchandise’s retail value
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Armed robbery, or the use of a weapon to facilitate larceny
  • Burglary, or entering a private property with the intent to commit a crime inside the property
  • Arson, or causing damage to a structure with fire or explosion
  • Criminal mischief, or intentionally damaging or destroying someone else’s property
  • Criminal trespass, or entering property without permission or authorization

Grading of theft crimes often depends on the value of the property involved. Property offenses can lead to felony charges if they involve occupied dwellings or structures or lead to injury.

Sex Crimes

Sex crimes under Florida law include a wide range of non-consensual sexual activities, including rape/sexual battery, defined as sexual penetration or oral sex without the victim’s consent. The offense of sexual contact includes touching a victim’s intimate parts or forcing a victim to touch a perpetrator’s intimate parts without the victim’s consent.

Sex crime penalties may increase if the victim is a minor or an incapacitated person. A conviction for a sex crime can lead to sex offender registration requirements, jail or prison time, and fines.

White Collar Crimes

White-collar crimes include non-violent offenses usually aimed at achieving financial gain for the perpetrator. These crimes include:

  • Passing bad checks
  • Bank fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Government benefits fraud
  • Tax fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Counterfeiting
  • Forgery
  • Identity theft
  • Bribery
  • Computer hacking
  • Securities fraud

White-collar crimes may be investigated and prosecuted at the state or federal level when the criminal activity spans state or international borders.

Contact Our Pensacola Criminal Defense Law Firm

If you are facing criminal charges in Pensacola, do not wait to get the legal representation you need. We serve clients throughout the Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent Metro Area, the Emerald Coast, and the Florida Panhandle. Contact Cardoso Law, PLLC for a confidential consultation to speak with a Pensacola criminal defense lawyer about your legal options.