Common Questions About Criminal Defense Cases

When starting down the road to a criminal trial, many clients have the same questions. Here, our knowledgeable lawyer has shared some of his answers to the most common questions to help offer information and peace of mind when you need it most.

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  • Will My Domestic Violence (Battery) Charges be Dropped if the Victim Doesn’t Want to Press Charges?

    You’d be amazed how many people come to me wondering this very thing.  It is logical to assume that if the alleged victim in a domestic violence case does not want to prosecute that the case will be dismissed by the State Attorney’s Office.

    However, the prosecutor does not have to drop your case simply because the victim does not want to cooperate.  Therefore, the simple answer is: No. Your case will not automatically be dropped because the alleged victim says so.

    Domestic violence cases are prosecuted very aggressively in Florida, and Miami is no exception.  The prosecutor (and the prosecutor alone) determines whether to file formal charges against you and later determines whether your case should be dismissed.

    If you have recently been arrested for domestic violence, please do not think that everything will simply go away and your case will be dismissed because the alleged victim does not want to prosecute.  As you can imagine, domestic violence cases are very emotional. 

    What one day may seem like everything is back to normal can turn into a living hell the next.  Letting your guard down simply because you have reason to believe that the alleged victim does not want to press charges is a surefire way to get yourself in a lot of trouble.  You can end up with a permanent criminal record and even end up in jail. 

    What NOT to Do

    Under no circumstances should you attempt to contact the alleged victim to ask that they drop the case, nor should you intimidate or threaten the alleged victim in any way.  Doing this will be a violation of the court’s stay away order or no contact order.  This is not only another criminal charge that you will have to defend but they can also revoke your bond and put you back in jail.

    Taking matters into your own hands by attempting to contact the alleged victim or simply assuming that everything will get dropped is not the strategy that you should employ when facing these serious charges.

    What Should You Do If the Victim Doesn’t Want to Prosecute?

    If you have reason to believe that the alleged victim in your case does not want to prosecute (or press charges), then you should seek the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you through this emotional court case.  An attorney that handles domestic violence cases will be able to help you navigate this tricky area of law in order to resolve this in the best possible way. 

    If you have questions about your Domestic Violence charge and would like more information, you can download a FREE copy of Daniel Izquierdo's special report, He Said, She Said: Three Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Domestic Violence Case in Florida from our website.  If you are here today because you feel frustrated about a domestic violence battery charge and it is disrupting your life, we should talk.  You can also contact us to set up a Free 4-Point Case Evaluation and Defense Strategy Session with me by first calling (305) 707-7345.  The sooner we talk, the sooner you will have clarity on what you face—and just a little clarity can take away a lot of the stress.

  • What Happens if the Victim Doesn’t Want to Prosecute in a Domestic Violence (Battery) Case?

    You may be thinking that if the alleged victim in your domestic violence case doesn’t want to press charges (or prosecute) that you’ll be in the clear.  That is a very common misconception in domestic battery cases and one that could put you at risk of severe and long-lasting consequences.  See, once a battery case enters the domestic violence division, it is up to the State Attorney’s Office whether to pursue criminal charges.  Meaning it’s the prosecutor and not the alleged victim that decides what happens to the case once an arrest has been made.

    In Miami, the State Attorney’s Office is very aggressive in pursuing domestic violence charges in criminal court with or without a victim.  One can see that if a victim is not cooperating it could very well mean that they have no interest in pressing charges or having the case prosecuted.  It could also mean that the incident was blown out of proportion and things may not have transpired the way they were initially reported. Or the parties have reconciled now that everyone has calmed down.

    However, from a policy standpoint the prosecutor is cautious as it could also mean that the victim is scared to cooperate by helping them move the case forward or, even worse, is being threatened or intimidated by the defendant to “drop the charges.”

    Victim’s Influence

    Even though the prosecutor is the one that files charges and decides whether to dismiss a battery case, the victim does still have an impact on the case.  In domestic violence cases the prosecutor will attempt to contact the victim in order to get a statement from them and also to discuss how the victim would like the case to be resolved. 

    Common sense would tell you that it is more difficult for the State to prove its case and move forward if the victim is not cooperating than if the victim is 100% on board.  However, many domestic violence cases can go from bad to worse because of the mistaken belief that all will be fine simply because the victim is “not pressing charges.” Prosecutors can go forward with or without a victim and oftentimes continue to push cases where other evidence (i.e. reports, statements, 911 calls or photographs) supports the charge. Meaning that a victim's lack of cooperation does not mean that the State will drop the charges against you. 

    What Should You Do?

    First, you SHOULD NOT try to contact (or influence) the alleged victim in any way.  Your Stay Away Order prohibits you from not only coming within 500 feet of their residence, job, school, etc. but it also prevents you from having any type of contact (direct or indirect).  Contacting the alleged victim could lead to your bond being revoked and being thrown in jail.  It can also bring more criminal charges such as violating an injunction or no contact order or witness tampering.

    If you are charged with domestic violence and you have a reason to believe that the alleged victim does not want to prosecute, press charges or cooperate with the prosecutor, consult an attorney.  An experienced criminal defense lawyer in Miami will be able to handle this on your behalf and knows how to proceed when the victim doesn’t want to.

    If you have questions about your Domestic Violence charge and would like more information, you can download a FREE copy of Daniel Izquierdo's special report, He Said, She Said: Three Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Domestic Violence Case in Florida from our website.  If you are here today because you feel frustrated about a domestic violence battery charge and it is disrupting your life, we should talk.  You can also contact us to set up a Free 4-Point Case Evaluation and Defense Strategy Session with me by first calling (305) 707-7345.  The sooner we talk, the sooner you will have clarity on what you face—and just a little clarity can take away a lot of the stress.

  • Should I accept a pretrial diversion or pretrial intervention program?

    Pretrial diversion programs are great outcomes for most people that have been charged with a crime in the State of Florida.  However, it may not be the best option for you.  Of course you don’t know this until consulting with a knowledgeable defense attorney that can properly advise if this is truly the best outcome for your case.  Some counties throughout Florida make you sign an admission of guilt prior to being accepted into a pretrial diversion or pretrial intervention program.  They make this a condition of being accepted--meaning there's no way around it!  Is this something you want to do without consulting an attorney?

    If you are not a U.S. Citizen this admission of guilt can hurt your ability to obtain status or even Naturalize as a citizen.  Furthermore, accepting a referral to a pretrial diversion program when your case should be dismissed by the State or there are issues with the evidence, may not be in your best interest.  If for whatever reason you are “bounced out” of the program or do not complete it, your case will be set for Trial and you will have to face the original charges.  Not to mention having to deal with the admission of guilt you gave as a condition of being accepted into the pretrial intervention or diversion program.  This can be extremely damaging if you are not properly advised and accept a program when the State could have been pushed to perhaps offer to dismiss the charges.

    You’ll want to be properly advised and have a lawyer that does all the leg work before advising you on your best course of action—not a lawyer that is looking to make a quick buck off of your case and throw you into a pretrial diversion or intervention program.  

    Remember, a criminal charge can affect everything you try to do in life moving forward.  It is extremely important to enlist the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows the players, the process and focuses primarily on criminal defense in Miami. 

  • Will the State offer me a plea deal to close my case at arraignment?

    This is a major problem in misdemeanor cases where you’re not guaranteed a public defender.  It is extremely troubling to sit in court on an almost daily basis and watch as defendant after defendant comes forth and accepts pleas to DUI, possession of marijuana, petit theft, disorderly conduct or driving while license suspended.  All of these and many other misdemeanors carry serious and life-altering consequences that can affect parts of your life such as becoming a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, obtaining a professional license or getting a job, being expelled from school, even getting a loan or renting an apartment.

    If you’re charged with a felony, you will get a public defender at arraignment and will probably have a plea offered. The consequences are also extremely severe. Have you had adequate time to think about the evidence?  Have you been able to review the evidence and discuss it with your lawyer? Do you know how the plea will affect you going forward if you have a professional license or are not a citizen?

    More often than not, it is best to listen to any pleas offered at arraignment and then take some time to think about it.  It is not uncommon for the court to set a plea or status hearing shortly after your arraignment for this very reason.  Not to mention, your lawyer will probably receive some, if not all, of the discovery (evidence) the State intends to use against you.  This will give you some time to review the evidence and discuss any potential pleas with your lawyer.  

    An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to properly advise you as to whether the plea offered at arraignment is worth considering given the State's evidence and your ultimate goals when resolving the case. 

    A criminal charge can affect everything you try to do in life moving forward.  It is extremely important to enlist the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows the players, the process and focuses primarily on criminal defense in Miami. 

    If you or someone you love has been arrested in Miami, don’t delay.  You don’t have time to waste!  Call our office, (305) 707-7345, to schedule your 4-Point Case Evaluation and Strategy Session.  

    Our Guarantee to You:

    We guarantee to have you in and out of the office in less than 60 minutes. 

    We guarantee this will be different than what most other lawyers offer when they say “Free Consultation.”  

    We guarantee that we will actually discuss your case in detail rather than try to scare you while we sell our services and brag about ourselves.

  • Should I go to my arraignment without a lawyer?

    This is one of the most common questions and myths that criminal defense attorneys hear from prospective clients.  While we understand that not everyone has the money to retain a private attorney to fight for them in criminal court; you should try to hire one prior to arraignment (and give them time to reach out to the State) if possible because the benefit to you can be huge.  Why is that?  See, an arraignment is the beginning of every criminal case.  It is where the state announces whether they are filing charges against you and what charges they’re filing. 

    Now, you have to be selective and hire someone you trust as not every lawyer that you hire prior to the State making its filing decision will reach out to them, conduct initial investigation and fight for you in an attempt to get the State to not file charges or to file reduced charges.  Getting the State to file reduced charges may not seem like an outright victory, but its effects can be extremely valuable because oftentimes where you start can determine and affect where you will finish.

    The saddest thing I see day in and day out in criminal court is people that show up to arraignment without a lawyer and just take pleas to close their case without understanding what consequences the plea will have, without analyzing the evidence that the State has against them and if they can even prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  This is extremely common in misdemeanor cases.  While it may seem that you’re good to go and this will all be behind you, I cannot begin to tell you how many people seek us out because a plea they took so many years ago is now preventing them from becoming a U.S. Citizen, getting a job, loan or professional license.

    If you’re charged with a felony and subscribe to this method of thinking, you must really like gambling with your life.  While you will be assigned a public defender at arraignment and not have to go it alone, you are missing out on the chance of having a private criminal defense lawyer reach out to the State before arraignment in an attempt to not have charges filed. In addition to this, chances are that a thorough criminal defense attorney will have reviewed some of the evidence, spoken with the State and will be able to advise you as to whether a plea offered at arraignment is worth considering.

    A criminal charge can affect everything you try to do in life moving forward.  It is extremely important to enlist the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows the players, the process and focuses primarily on criminal defense in Miami. 

    If you or someone you love has been arrested in Miami, don’t delay.  You don’t have time to waste!  Call our office, (305) 707-7345, to schedule your 4-Point Case Evaluation and Strategy Session.  

    Our Guarantee to You:

    We guarantee to have you in and out of the office in less than 60 minutes. 

    We guarantee this will be different than what most other lawyers offer when they say “Free Consultation.”  

    We guarantee that we will actually discuss your case in detail rather than try to scare you while we sell our services and brag about ourselves.