Plea Negotiations

St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyer

An experienced St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Tampa area criminal defense attorney can advocate effectively on a client's behalf, with the State and/or the Judge, in reaching a favorable negotiated resolution to a criminal matter. A plea negotiation implies that the criminal charge has been formally filed, and a trial may not be in the client's best interest.

Effective plea negotiations typically involve isolating potential weaknesses in the state's case and conveying any and all circumstances that tend to mitigate the client's culpability. Mitigating circumstances may involve substances abuse or mental health issues for which the client has voluntarily sought treatment, genuine remorse for having committed the offense, payment of restitution to the victim a lack of prior record, or the client's age. This is by no means an exhaustive list; the possibilities are almost limitless.

Negotiating effectively for a reduction in charge in certain felony cases can potentially reverse an otherwise utterly hopeless situation. In Florida, the sentence on a felony charge is largely dependent on where the accused person scores on the sentencing guidelines and whether a " minimum mandatory" sentence is applicable. Some felony offenses will score mandatory prison because of their severity, some clients will score prison on the guidelines because of the extent of their prior record, and some offenses will carry minimum mandatory sentences (mainly drug trafficking and certain firearms offenses).

Depending on the circumstances, the prosecutor may be willing to amend the pending charge(s) to a lesser charge, which would lower the accused person's guideline score to a number that would not require a prison sentence. Amending charges can also eliminate minimum mandatory sentences that would otherwise be applicable. For example, a person charged with possessing more than four grams of hydrocodone, without a valid prescription, would be facing a three-year minimum mandatory prison sentence. If the state would be willing to amend the charge, as part of a negotiated plea, from trafficking in hydrocodone to possession of hyrdrocodone, the amendment would eliminate the minimum mandatory prison sentence.

Please know that what can or cannot be done depends on many factors and no two cases are alike. The examples above are meant to convey the purpose of engaging in plea negotiations on a client's behalf. Having a qualified, experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney advocating on your behalf is crucial. Attorney Donald Kilfin has negotiated favorable dispositions for countless clients throughout the Tampa Bay area over the past several years.

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in St. Petersburg Clearwater, Tampa, New Port Richey, Dade City or Bradenton, contact The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C. to schedule your free initial consultation.