When Should I Hire a Drug Crime Attorney?

Swift And Effective Action By An Attorney Can Save Your Future

At The Law Office of Timothy Hessinger, we refer to immediate intervention in a criminal case as "Striking while the Iron is Hot". The period of time between an arrest and the filing of formal charges by the State Attorney's office often presents the best opportunity for affecting the outcome of your case. This is something that a Tampa criminal defense lawyer may not fully appreciate if he or she did not spend time as a prosecutor with the State Attorney's Office learning firsthand how the system works.

How the System Works: Avoiding Drug Crime Charges

In the State of Florida, there are three types documents utilized to formally charge a person with a crime:

  • A Citation - a citation is typically used to charge misdemeanor traffic offenses, including DUI, and non-criminal driving infractions. At the moment the police officer files a copy of the citation with the clerk of court, the person is formally charged with the offense for which it was issued. While the prosecutor plays no role in the filing a charge by citation, he or she can still decide to drop the charge or reduce it to a lesser degree of offense.
  • An Indictment - this type of document is typically reserved for first degree murder charges following a grand-jury recommendation.
  • An Information - this is the most common type of charging document and is utilized to charge the vast majority of misdemeanor and felony offenses in Florida.

Following an arrest, the prosecutor will review the case, to include the relevant facts and evidence, and make a decision as to whether or not to file charges. The person is not formally charged until the prosecutor files an information with the clerk of court.

If the prosecutor decides the evidence is insufficient, or that a reasonable likelihood of successful prosecution does not exist, then he or she has the option of drafting and filing a "No Information". By filing this document, the accused person is not charged and the matter is dropped.

Acting quickly and effectively at the early stages of a criminal case is of paramount significance. The gap between arrest, or investigation, and the filing of an Information or No-information is a short window. During this time, we have the best opportunity to present weaknesses in a case to the prosecutor and advocate for the filing of either a No-information, or a less severe offense.

Once the charges have been formally filed this opportunity is lost. Contact a Tampa drug crime defense attorney without delay as the time to act is now.

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