The following are the different categories of crimes and the individual charges therein. I have given a brief description of each category with information that is specific to that category. The list while lengthy is does not contain every crime and the comments are added for your information but do not contain every issue of concern.
Contact R. Lane Lastinger at 727-894-2692 to schedule a free initial consultation to learn about building a strong defense in your case.
- Battery and Assault
- Sex Offenses
- Weapons Offenses
- Arson and Criminal Mischief
- Burglary and Trespass
- Theft and Dealing in Stolen Property
- Child Abuse
- Forgery and Worthless Checks
- Obstruction of Justice
- Drug Abuse
- Traffic Crimes
- Miscellaneous Crimes
- Inchoate Crimes
- Traffic Infractions
- Minimum Mandatory Sentences
Death Penalty Cases
First Degree Murder-Premeditation
Felony Murder-First Degree
Second Degree Murder
Felony Murder Second Degree
Felony Murder Third Degree
Homicide is generally the killing of another human being. The various degrees range from first degree premeditated murder or killing after consciously deciding to do so, to manslaughter where the killing is the result of culpable negligence. A person may be guilty of vehicular homicide if the reckless operation of a vehicle results in death even though there was no intent to cause death or harm to the victim.
Defenses: Justifiable Homicide: Generally self defense. Use of deadly force is lawful if necessarily done while resisting another’s attempt to murder or commit a felony upon you, or to commit a felony in any dwelling house in which you lawfully are at the time of the killing.
Excusable Homicide: A killing that occurs by accident and misfortune: 1) In doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without unlawful intent, or 2) In the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or 3) Resulting form sudden combat, if a dangerous weapon is not used and the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner.
Battery and Assault:
Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Woman
Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer
Battery on a Facility or School Employee
Battery is intentionally touching someone against their will or intentionally causing bodily harm to another. Assault is an intentional and unlawful threat, by word or act, while having the apparent ability to carry out the threat, and the threat causes a well founded threat upon the victim. Both are aggravated by the use of a firearm or other deadly weapon. Battery can also be enhanced to a felony due to prior criminal history, the resulting injury to the victim, or the nature of the victim (i.e. law enforcement officer, pregnant women, elderly, disabled adults). Minimum mandatory sentences are mandated certain batteries or assaults involving law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical care providers and for an aggravated battery or assault on a person 65 years of age or older.
Defenses: Generally self defense. The force used must not reasonably exceed that which is necessary to protect yourself. You cannot claim self defense is the force used was excessive, you initially provoked the use of force against yourself (you can’t start a fight to finish it), or if you were attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of a forcible felony.
Sexual Battery – Victim Under 12 Years of Age
Sexual Battery – Victim Over 12 – Great Force
Solicitation of a Child – Familial or Custodial Authority
Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Certain Minors
Committing Unnatural and Lascivious Act
Lewd, Lascivious Act Upon or in the Presence of a Child
Lewd and Lascivious Behavior
Sex abuse cases tend to focus on the age of the victim and the nature of the contact or exposure. Consent is generally not an issue when minors are involved. It is illegal for an adult 24 years of age or older to engage in sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 18. Note that a conviction a sex offense will result in a designation as a sexual offender or predator.
Defenses: Contact did not occur or was not sexual (accidental, bathing, medical examination). Consent is a defense to sexual battery alleged between to adults. The promiscuity of the victim is generally inadmissable.
Maintaining a House of Prostitution
This category of crime involved illegally detaining, confining, imprisoning or restraining another.
Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Possession without a License
Felon in Possession
Discharging Firearms in Public
Throwing, Making, Placing or Discharging of any Destructive Device
Threat to Make, Place, or Discharge any Destructive Device
False Reports of Bombing
Throwing a Deadly Missile
Shooting into an Occupied or Unoccupied Vehicle, Structure or Dwelling
Use of a BB gun by a person under the age of 16
Weapons offenses are now some of the most serious crimes on the books. This is particularly after the enactment of the 10-20-Life statute. This statute requires minimum mandatory prison sentences upon conviction. This means that you do 100% of your time with now eligibility for good or gain time. Only the Office of the State Attorney can waive the minimum mandatory requirements. The only possible judicial departure is for a youth offender. 10-20-Life requires actual possession of a firearm. Generally speaking the minimum mandatories are as follows:
3 Years: For actual possession of firearm or destructive device during the commission of an aggravated assault, felon in possession of a firearm or burglary of a conveyance.
10 Years: For actual possession of a firearm or destructive device during the commission or attempted commission a murder; sexual battery; robbery; burglary; arson; aggravated battery; kidnapping; escape; aircraft piracy; aggravated child abuse; aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or a bomb; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; aggravated stalking; trafficking.
20 Years: For discharging a firearm or destructive device in the course of committing these felonies.
25 Years : For a discharge that results in death or great bodily harm.
Arson and Criminal Mischief:
Burning to Defraud and Insurer
Burglary and Trespass:
Burglary of a Dwelling, Structure or Conveyance (Occupied or Unoccupied)
Possession of Burglary Tools
Trespass in Structure or Conveyance
Trespass on School Property
Trespass on a Construction Site
Burglary and trespass both involve entering a property, conveyance, structure or dwelling without invitation and that is not open to the public. Burglary occurs when the intention to commit a crime is formed before or after entering. A burglary does not need to involve a theft. Residential burglaries are very serious and score prison time even without any prior criminal history.
Property open to the Public
Did not enter
Theft and Dealing in Stolen Property:
Felony Petit Theft
Larceny of Cable Services
Dealing in Stolen Property (Fencing and Organizing)
Theft crimes are typically enhanced due to prior theft convictions and the value of the property taken. Identity theft is extremely serious and carries minimum mandatory prison sentences. The temporary taking of property qualifies as theft so do not borrow without permission.
Defenses: The taking must be intentional.
Robbery is the taking of property by threat or force.
Aggravated Child Abuse
Contributing to Child Delinquency or to Child Dependency or to Child in Need of Services
Neglect of a Child
Forgery and Worthless Checks:
Worthless Checks- Obtaining Property
Stopping Payment on a Check
A worthless check charge must be intentional. Bouncing a check does not count. Typically the state will not file this charge unless collection efforts have failed.
Perjury-Not an Official Proceeding
Perjury by Contradictory Statements
Bribery of a Public Servant
Bribery by a Public Servant
Unlawful Compensation or Reward of a Public Servant
Unlawful Compensation or Reward by a Public Servant
Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud
Fraudulent use of a Credit Card
Scheme to Defraud
Obstruction of Justice:
Resisting an Officer with Violence
Resisting an Officer without Violence
Obstruction by Disguise
Filing a False Police Report
Obstruction typically involves fleeing or given false information during an investigation. A key issue in every obstruction case is did the police have the right to stop the defendant and investigate.
Maintaining a Gambling Establishment
Renting Space for Gambling
Setting Up, Promoting, or Conducting a Lottery
Disposing of Money or Property by Lottery
Conducting a Lottery Drawing
Assisting in Lottery
Selling Lottery Tickets
Possessing a Lottery Ticket
Possessing Rundown Sheets, etc.
Possession of Obscene Material with Intent to Sell
Designing or Copying Obscene Material
Advertising Obscene Material
Hiring Persons to Sell, Possess, Design or Advertise Obscene Material
Promoting or Performing Obscene Material
Exposing Minors to Harmful Movies or Pictures
Sale of Counterfeit Drugs
Possession of Drugs
Possession with the Intent to Sell
Sale, Purchase, Manufacture or Delivery of Drugs
Sale to A Minor
Sale within 1000 feet of a School
Sale within 1000 feet of a Church
Trafficking in Cannabis (Marijuana): Excess of 50 pounds
Trafficking in Cocaine: Excess of 28 grams
Trafficking in Illegal Drugs/Controlled Substances: Excess of 4 grams
Introduction of Contraband
Drug crimes are generally enhanced due to quantity, type of drug and action taken with the drug. Possession is the simplest drug crime and most frequently charged. Always at issue in drug cases is how were the drugs found? Was the possession actual or constructive possession? Just because you are in a car or house with drugs in it does not necessarily mean that you possess them.
Proof of the sale of drugs can either be direct or it can be inferred through packaging or actions. Direct = Buy by an undercover officer or confidential informant. Inferred = I possess marijuana that is individually packaged in small zip lock bags. The later is referred to as possession with the intent to sell.
Trafficking is the most serious of the drug charges. It is completely drive by the quantity of the drugs possessed. THE STATE DOES NEED PROVE THAT YOU SOLD OR INTENDED TO SELL DRUGS TO CONVICT YOU OF TRAFFICKING. Trafficking carries significant (3 years to life) minimum mandatory prison sentences and a minimum fine of $50,000.00. The minimal quantities to qualify for trafficking are listed above. Note that minimal quantities of prescription drugs will qualify fo trafficking. These minimum mandatory sentences can only be waived by the State absent a youthful offender departure. In cases of substantial assistance (helping set up the supplier) or proof that the possession is entirely due to addiction, the State may consider waving the minimum mandatories.
See http://web.archive.org/web/20080526144806/http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/4873.html for the tragic story of Richard Peay and his trafficking nightmare. His appeal was just denied.
This is used to typically prosecute large scale organized or gang crime.
Escape from a Juvenile Detention Facility
DUI or Driving While Under the Influence
Felony DUI – Prior Convictions
Felony DUI – Serious Bodily Injury
Leaving the Scene of an Accident involving Death or Injury
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Property Damage
Aggravated Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer
Fleeing and Eluding a Law Enforcement Officer
Driving While License Suspended or Revoked – Habitual Suspension
Driving While License Suspended or Revoked – Felony -Priors
Driving While License Suspended or Revoked – Misdemeanor – With Knowledge
No Valid Driver’s License
Possession of Alcohol by a Minor
Sale of Alcohol to a Minor
Loitering and Prowling
Cruelty to Animals
Failure to Yield
Failure to Maintain a Single Lane
Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device
Improper Lane Change
Minimum Mandatory Sentences:
The following is a list of crimes that carry minimum mandatory sentences:
- Capital Felonies – Life
- Conviction as a Prison Releasee Re-offender – Statutory Maximum
- Conviction as a Dangerous Sexual Felony Offender – 25 years to Life
- Felon in Possession of Firearm or Ammunition – 3 years
- 10-20-Life (Firearms or Destructive Devices) – 3 years to Life (See above discussion)
- Drug Trafficking – 3 years to Life
- Aggravated Assault of a Law Enforcement Officer, Firefighter or Emergency Care Provider – 3 years
- Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer, Firefighter or Emergency Care Provider while in possession of a firearm – 3 years
- Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer, Firefighter or Emergency Care Provider while in possession of a semi-automatic machine gun – 8 years
- Aggravated Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer, Firefighter or Emergency Care Provider – 5 years
- Aggravated Assault or Aggravated Battery on a Person 65 years of age or older – 3 years
- Manufacturing or possessing chemicals to manufacture methamphetamine or phencyclidine in presence of minor 16 or under – 5 year – 10 years if minor injured
- Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding – 3 years
- Identity Theft- 10-19 Individuals- 3 years; 20-29 – 5 years; 30 or more – 10 years