Criminal charges come as an unexpected blow that alters your life instantly. Criminal proceedings don’t just bring stress and uncertainty they set the trajectory for your future.
The consequences of criminal charges include jail time, significant fines, and a lasting record that can affect employment, housing, child custody, and other important aspects of life.
It can feel powerless to face criminal charges in St. Petersburg, but you still control the most important decision the St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney you choose to represent you.
Choosing an experienced attorney with a track record of success can significantly impact the outcome of your criminal case and, by extension, your future.
Khonsari Law Group is a criminal defense firm in central Florida. Our team represents individuals, local businesses, and medical facilities. We have a track record of successfully handling high-profile cases that have attracted national media attention.
Clients trust Khonsari Law Group to deliver personalized attention and powerful advocacy for the best possible results.
A criminal defense lawyer’s practice areas should be the primary consideration when choosing an attorney to take your case. Prior experience shows that an attorney knows that particular branch of criminal law and has the expertise required to make the legal process work to your advantage.
Khonsari Law Group handles many criminal defense cases in St. Petersburg.
We help clients facing charges related to:
You may face an emotional and frightening experience when prosecutors charge you with a crime. With the team at Khonsari Law Group on your side, you can rest assured that your case is in experienced hands committed to fighting for your future.
Khonsari Law Group is a law firm of dedicated criminal defense attorneys. We hold multiple awards and distinctions, including membership in the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the AVVO Clients’ Choice award.
Our firm has had the distinction of successfully handling high-profile cases that garnered local and national media coverage. We have been featured many times in various local news outlets.
Mr. Rohom Khonsari is a former county prosecutor. His intimate knowledge of prosecution in Florida puts him in the unique position of understanding how the prosecution thinks and what it takes to overturn the arguments they build.
Khonsari Law Group handles all types of criminal charges. We’ve represented individuals, medical practices and facilities, surgical centers, and local businesses. We know how to craft a successful defense for our clients.
The legal team at Khonsari Law Group values client relationships. Every client receives dedicated personal attention and an unyielding commitment to secure the best outcome possible, no matter the charges you face.
Criminal proceedings presume that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, and strict protocols and procedures can keep you from you facing unjust penalties when prosecutors accuse you of a crime.
Unfortunately, reality often fails to live up to this standard. Often police officers, prosecutors, and other officials take advantage of an individual’s lack of legal knowledge. When you don’t know the law, you can’t recognize when officials cut corners to make an arrest.
All too often, individuals find their futures destroyed over legal technicalities. An experienced criminal defense attorney makes the justice system work for you.
When police don’t follow protocol when arresting suspects or collecting evidence, or if they fail to inform you of your rights when they arrest you, the court can throw out your entire case, regardless of your actions.
Police departments and prosecutors feel public pressure to bring charges down on those accused of crimes. Criminal defense attorneys exist to protect individuals from becoming a statistic showcasing the success of a police department or prosecutor.
The criminal process in St. Petersburg begins with either arrest or a notice to appear. If you received notice, you must appear at a Pinellas County court on the given date. With an arrest, your first appearance occurs more quickly, within 24 hours of booking.
Once you’ve been arrested or served a notice, your case will move through the following steps until either a judge dismisses it or you face sentencing.
The first appearance formally begins your criminal proceedings. You hear your charges, discuss bail, and handle other administrative details at this appearance.
Next comes the preliminary hearing. This hearing is a pivotal step because your charges can be dismissed entirely at this point. At the preliminary hearing, the prosecutor must present evidence that supports the charges against you.
At this point, you can choose to enter into optional plea bargaining. You may have the option of pleading guilty and accepting a lesser sentence than you would face if you receive a guilty verdict in court.
Your criminal defense lawyer will advise you on whether this is a good option depending on the charges and sentencing you face and the amount of evidence the prosecution has to support their case.
At the arraignment hearing, you’ll formally hear your charges and plead guilty or not guilty. You will likely skip this step if you have accepted a plea bargain or submitted a written plea. If you plead not guilty, the court will set a trial date.
Depending on your charges, you’ll face either trial by judge or trial by jury. Both types of trials follow a similar process, but more steps are involved in jury selection.
Your trial may occur over one session, or it may take several for the presentation and cross-examination of both the prosecutor and the defense. Typically a case involving more serious charges will take longer.
Ultimately, the trial will conclude with a ruling of either guilty or not guilty. If the court finds you not guilty, it will close your case.
If the court finds you guilty, it will sentence you separately. Both your criminal defense lawyer and the prosecutor will argue for an appropriate sentence, and you may give a statement as well. Sentencing in St. Petersburg usually happens within two weeks to 90 days of your trial verdict.
Criminal penalties in St. Petersburg range widely, depending on the nature of your charges and whether there are any prior charges on your criminal record. Even seemingly minor criminal charges can cause a lasting impact.
Florida allows capital punishment, so the most extreme sentences you can face are either life in prison or a death sentence.
A guilty verdict can bring consequences that include:
It’s also possible to face additional punishment at a judge’s discretion.
The most important distinction in Florida criminal penalties is whether your charges amount to a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony is a crime that brings a minimum sentence of a year’s incarceration, while a misdemeanor sentence will not exceed a year of jail time.
Florida law classifies the punishment of felonies and misdemeanors by different fines and jail time.
Although a misdemeanor is a lesser crime, it can still mean a year of jail, hefty legal fines, and a lasting criminal record.
Felonies in Florida have a far greater range of consequences. A felony could bring a year in jail, a life sentence, or even capital punishment.
One of the biggest mistakes individuals make when facing criminal charges is speaking to the police.
Most people know that anything said to the police can be used against them in court. However, it can be hard to refrain from saying anything. Don’t make this mistake. Do not answer questions from the police until your attorney is present.
When police officers arrest you in St. Petersburg, they immediately take you to jail. They will likely try to question you.
It’s crucial to involve a criminal defense lawyer from the start of your case. An attorney can begin working with you at any time, but the chance of having your charges diminished or dropped is significantly higher if you engage an attorney from the start.
A criminal defense attorney can do a lot to help your outcome, but there’s little they can do if you’ve unknowingly made incriminating statements on record. Furthermore, it’s hard to tell how seemingly conversational questions can build a case against you.
Tell the St. Petersburg police that you want an attorney, and don’t speak with them until you get one.
Within 24 hours of an arrest, you’ll have your first appearance. At this point, you see a judge, formally hear your charges, and discuss matters like bail. Prosecutors will use anything you say during the first appearance against you in court. From here, you’ll go through the steps of the criminal process outlined above.
The two most important things to do after a police arrest you are to hire a lawyer as soon as possible and refrain from speaking to any official without your lawyer present. Failing to follow this advice can have grave implications for your legal outcome and freedom.
The most important element of your criminal case is the St. Petersburg defense attorney you choose to represent you.
Once prosecutors bring criminal charges against you, they leave you with very little freedom. You have minimal control over the evidence presented by the prosecutor or the arguments they use against you. You don’t get much say in scheduled hearings or what occurs during them.
Your choice of a lawyer is the one area in which you can still exercise your autonomy and the choice you make determines your legal outcome.
Your criminal defense attorney’s job is to help you as much as possible.
This help can include:
Whatever outcome your lawyer procures for you, it’s not a matter of chance. Every criminal case involves a unique combination of charges, evidence, witness testimony, and protocol.
If you hope to achieve the best possible outcome, you need a lawyer who knows the law and can make it work for you. An experienced lawyer who conducts a thorough independent investigation might find that police did not properly follow the procedure. Such an error can lead to a judge throwing out the entire case against you.
A lawyer well-versed in Florida legal precedents can craft an argument that successfully gets life-altering charges reduced to a minor offense. When faced with the choice of a lawyer, view the upfront cost as an investment in your future and freedom. It will cost you far less than an unjust guilty verdict that our experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers could have averted.
If police arrested you or the court served a notice to appear, the clock already started ticking. The longer you wait to hire a lawyer, the harder it will be for them to get your charges dropped or dismissed. Without a lawyer, you will also have a much higher chance of accidentally saying something incriminating that negatively impacts your outcome.
Khonsari Law Group is a leader in St. Petersburg criminal defense. You can schedule a free consultation with us to discuss the details of your charges and the options available to you.
Contact Khonsari Law Group today at (727) 269-5300 or send us a message through our contact page to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about how to fight back against the criminal charges you face in St. Petersburg.