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Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you are accused of a crime, you will need to hire someone whom you can trust. At the Forbess Law Firm, we exclusively provide criminal defense representation. Unlike some other criminal defense attorneys, Mr. Forbess has defended thousands of people accused of crimes while never prosecuting a single person. The first step in your case is to get out of jail if possible, and we handle bond reductions on a daily basis. We strive to present the most complete picture of each client, and we understand that any criminal arrest affects freedom, employment, health, family, finances, and future life and career options.

We handle all aspects of a criminal case, from jail release to litigation to conducting a trial. We fight illegal arrests, false allegations, illegal searches, lying witnesses, and exaggerated charges. An attorney is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to discuss a criminal matter with you. We represent the accused in all of Northeast Florida. We do not charge for an initial consultation, regardless of location. We will meet you at the jail, in our Jacksonville office, or at any other location convenient for you.

Criminal Defense Overview

Prosecutors must establish all criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Whether they are misdemeanor charges or felony charges, it is crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney in the Jacksonville area who can evaluate the situation and present the most strategic and strongest defense available. Felonies are punished more harshly than misdemeanors, but any conviction can affect your record. In some cases, the strongest defense is a constitutional or procedural defense, such as bringing a motion to suppress evidence for a police officer’s failure to comply with your Fourth Amendment rights. There are also situations in which a substantive defense is available, such as self-defense or Stand Your Ground. It also may be possible to challenge the credibility of a confidential informant or witness.

Drug Crimes

Numerous drugs are illegal in Florida, including cocaine, oxycodone, MDMA, LSD, heroin, hydrocodone, fentanyl, cannabis, and GHB. The penalties for drug crimes depend on what the drug is and how much is at issue. If you are caught with the minimum threshold quantity to support a trafficking charge, you can be charged with trafficking, even if you only possessed the drugs, and there is no sign that you actually intended to sell them. The minimum threshold quantity is measured by looking at the total weight of the substance and any additives, rather than simply the drug itself. Drug trafficking convictions result in mandatory minimum sentences, over which the judge has no discretion. By retaining our Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys, you can ensure that no stone is left unturned in protecting your rights.

Sex Crimes

Sex crimes include sexual battery, lewd or lascivious acts, and unlawful sex with minors. There are many different kinds of sexual battery and lewd or lascivious acts. What must be proven depends on the particular statute under which the crime is charged. For example, under Florida Statute section 794.011, a prosecutor trying to secure a conviction for sexual battery must establish that the defendant had non-consensual vaginal, oral, or anal contact with someone else by using a sexual organ or an object. Lewd or lascivious acts are sex crimes perpetrated against somebody under age 16, and there are four types. These are lewd and lascivious battery, lewd and lascivious conduct, lewd and lascivious exhibition, and lewd and lascivious molestation. A conviction of a sex crime can lead to registration as a sex offender, which can permanently damage your personal and professional prospects. Thus, you should fight these charges vigorously with the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer in Jacksonville.

DUI

You can be charged with DUI if you were in control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. You also can be charged if your blood alcohol concentration was .08% or more. The latter is a per se DUI. The penalties will depend on the circumstances, as well as the number of prior DUI convictions that you have. For a first offense, you can face up to six months in jail, fines, a year of probation, community service, and the impoundment of your vehicle. The penalties are harsher if you had a minor passenger or a BAC of .15% or greater.

Theft Crimes

Theft is a crime of dishonesty, which means that it can have serious consequences for the purposes of applying for a job or passing a background check. To secure a theft conviction, a prosecutor must show that you knowingly obtained or used, or tried to obtain or use, another party’s property while intending to either deprive them of the property or appropriate it to your own use or the use of someone else who was not entitled to use it. The penalties depend on the value of the property at issue. Our Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers can fight both misdemeanor and felony theft charges.

Violent Crimes

Violent crimes are usually felonies. They can result in years of incarceration, as well as a permanent criminal record. They are treated very seriously by prosecutors. Violent crimes include homicide, robbery, kidnapping, assault, battery, and child abuse. First-degree murder is the only crime for which you can get the death penalty in Florida. Murder is the premeditated and illegal act of killing another human being. However, for other serious violent crimes, you can face a lifetime prison sentence.

Gun Crimes

Gun crimes are taken seriously by Florida prosecutors. Gun crimes include the possession or discharge of a destructive device, the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, carrying a concealed weapon, and the improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon or firearm. There are also cases in which the sentence for another crime may be enhanced because a weapon or firearm was used in committing the crime. One weapons enhancement law is the 10-20-Life law, which imposes mandatory minimum sentences when a firearm is involved in a violent crime.

Traffic Violations

Our criminal defense attorneys help Jacksonville residents and other people in Northeast Florida fight traffic violations, which can be infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies. Moving violations are traffic offenses that occur when a car is in motion. They include speeding, running a red light, DUI, and driving without a seatbelt. You can get anywhere from three to six points for a moving violation. For example, if you speed and cause an accident in Florida, you can accumulate six points. If you get more than 12 points in 12 months, your driver’s license may be suspended.

Probation Violations

Probation is a privilege, instead of a right, and you will need to abide by certain terms and conditions if you are granted probation in lieu of a jail sentence. If you willfully and substantially fail to comply with the terms and conditions of probation that were imposed by the court, you can be charged with a probation violation. The burden of proof for a probation violation is lower than for an ordinary crime. The prosecutor needs to prove the violation by the greater weight of the evidence. If you willfully, deliberately violated one or more conditions of probation in a material respect, you can have your probation revoked. A trial court has broad discretion in these cases.

Injunctions and Restraining Orders

Injunctions that may be issued in Florida may relate to domestic violence, sexual violence, or repeat violence, and they may be restraining orders or protective orders. They may be issued in civil or family courts or in criminal cases of domestic violence. We represent people charged with violating injunctions and restraining orders. You can be charged with a misdemeanor if you commit a first violation of a civil injunction.

Consult a Strategic Criminal Defense Lawyer in the Jacksonville Area

Whether you are charged with a drug crime, a sex crime, or another violation of Florida law, you should consult an experienced attorney. Our firm represents people accused of crimes throughout Northeast Florida, including in Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau, and St. Johns Counties. Call us at 904-634-0900 or use our online contact form to find out more about how we can help you.

Our Successes

Violent Crimes - Domestic Battery
Our client, V.N., was charged in Jacksonville with Domestic Battery, a first degree misdemeanor. He was accused of punching his wife in the back and face several times...
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Violent Crimes - Gun Charges - Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault, Carrying a Concealed Firearm
Two of our clients, P.M. and D.C., and were charged in Jacksonville with Kidnapping, a first degree felony, Aggravated Assault, a third degree felony...
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DUI - Driving Under the Influence
Our client, S.S., was on probation in Jacksonville for DUI and was arrested for another DUI, and was therefore also was also charged with Violation of Probation...
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DUI - Driving Under the Influence
Our client, B.M., was charged with DUI in Jacksonville. The police said that he crossed over the marker lines for his lane and he ran off the roadway. He blew .105 and .102, over the .08 limit. The police said our client had watery, bloodshot eyes...
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