Mitkevicius Law, PLLC Makes the Difference in Pensacola’s Criminal Process

  • Know your legal rights after arrest in Florida
  • Navigate the complex steps from arrest to case resolution
  • Understand what to expect in the court system
  • Build the strongest defense for your situation
  • Understand sentencing guidelines in the state
  • Determine your eligibility for sentencing alternatives
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The Criminal Justice System in Pensacola, FL

There are multiple steps in the criminal justice process. It is crucial that you understand what happens in each one and your rights and responsibilities along the way.

By being aware of what to expect and what to do, you can positively influence your case. You will be well-informed when you have guidance from a skilled attorney with in-depth knowledge of the Pensacola, FL justice process.

Your Arrest & Next Steps in Pensacola, FL

After being arrested for criminal charges in Pensacola, either because you were seen committing an illegal act or because there was a warrant for your arrest, you will be taken to the police station and booked.

During booking, you’ll have your photo and fingerprints taken. Before police question you, they should read you your Miranda rights. If they fail to do so, that doesn’t mean you can’t be arrested or prosecuted, as people sometimes think. But if you weren’t read your rights, what you said to the police cannot be used as evidence against you.

Following your arrest, here are the next steps in a Florida criminal case:

  • First appearance – You will go before a judge who will tell you your charges, set bail, release you on your own recognizance or hold you.
  • Arraignment – You will enter your plea of not guilty, guilty, or no contest during the arraignment.
  • Discovery and pre-trial hearings– Evidence is exchanged between parties during this step.
  • Plea negotiation – Your attorney may be able to negotiate to have charges reduced through a plea agreement.
  • Trial – Both sides argue the evidence before a judge or jury.
  • Sentencing – If you are found guilty, the judge will inform you and your lawyer of a sentencing date.

Read more about the steps in a Florida criminal case.

The Florida Court System in Escambia County

The Florida court system is made up of:

  • The Supreme Court
  • Six district courts of appeal
  • 20 circuit courts
  • 67 county courts

The circuit courts and county courts try criminal cases. In Escambia County, felony cases go to the First Judicial Circuit Court, and most misdemeanor cases go to the Escambia County Court.

When you enter the court system, you are innocent until proven guilty. However, Florida has rules of court procedure that all parties involved, including you, must adhere to, whether in your first appearance, arraignment, a hearing, or at trial.

Your attorney will educate you about what you must do so you do not run afoul of rules. For example, you must be on time for court appearances. If you fail to appear, you can be arrested.

Escambia County, FL: Sentencing, Probation & Alternatives

Sentencing guidelines in Florida recommend penalties based on the crime and any aggravating factors.

Florida has five levels of felonies: capital, life, first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree. Capital felonies are the most serious, and third-degree the least serious. The state has two tiers of misdemeanor crimes: first-degree and second-degree. You can spend time behind bars for both felony and misdemeanor crimes. Felony offenders go to state prison, while misdemeanor offenders go to county jail.

However, not every criminal conviction results in jail or prison. Depending upon the specifics, alternatives to time behind bars may be available. Potential options can include house arrest, probation, pretrial intervention, community service, drug court, alcohol counseling, and other options. Your defense lawyer can inform you about options that may be available for your unique situation.

How to Find a Pensacola Defense Lawyer

When you have been arrested, one of the first things to do is find an experienced defense attorney in Pensacola, FL. Your lawyer will play a critical role in helping to ensure your rights are protected in the criminal justice system and in getting you the best outcome. Without the help of an attorney, you limit your chances of having your charges dismissed or reduced.

At Mitkevicius Law, we have extensive experience representing clients accused of the full range of criminal cases, including:

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After finding a criminal defense attorney, you can prepare for your criminal case by:

  • Ensuring you understand exactly what you are charged with.
  • Collecting evidence, which your attorney will help you with.
  • Identifying any witnesses who may be able to help establish your innocence.
  • Confirm you know how to behave around court officers and in the courtroom.

Criminal Justice Resources

Following are links to visit for criminal justice resources that can further inform you about the criminal process:

With more than 10 years practicing in Pensacola, attorney Mitkevicius is highly familiar with the local police, prosecutors, and judges in the area. This knowledge can be beneficial to achieving more satisfactory resolutions for criminal defendants.

"I can honestly say Mr. Josef and his staff are amazing and took great care of me.

They are really great people and they really care about your case. I went to court today and 7 hours later I got a phone call and email saying all of my charges were dropped and I had serious charges against with years hanging over my head. Mr. Josef and your staff, my family and myself thank you very very much. We love you all and thank you all again so so much. I will refer everyone that needs a good lawyer to you guys and ladies of your law firm. God bless you all."

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Bryan York

Florida Criminal Justice Process FAQs

What are my rights after arrest in Florida?

You have the right to know why you are being arrested. You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions from police until you have an attorney present. Here are some tips on what to do if police question you in violation of your rights.

What should I know about Pensacola bail bond services?

Many people cannot afford to pay cash bail, so they use a bail bond service. You pay the service 10% of your bail amount. The bond service then pays the court the full amount of your bail. The difference between cash bail and a bail bond is that with cash bail, you get your money back after the criminal process concludes. This is the case even if you are found guilty (although some could be kept to pay restitution or court costs). You do not get your money back when you get a bail bond, no matter the case’s outcome.

What is the difference between a guilty and no-contest plea?

If you plead guilty, you are admitting to committing the crime. After a guilty plea, you are sentenced without a trial. A no-contest plea is the same in that there is no trial—instead, you go directly to sentencing. However, a no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt, so there are sometimes advantages to this plea. When we represent your case, we can help you determine the most beneficial plea for your circumstances, whether it is not guilty, no-contest, or guilty.

Don’t Let Florida’s Criminal Process Intimidate You

“Knowledge is power” regarding understanding and getting through the state’s criminal process. Attorney Josef Mitkevicius will clearly explain your rights and options at every stage so that you can reach the most beneficial outcome.

Mitkevicius Law, PLLC has a track record of success in Pensacola and throughout Florida’s criminal system, including drastically reducing charges, dismissing, and proving people’s innocence. Here are some examples of favorable results we have achieved:

  • Charges dismissed in theft of firearm case for client facing 15 years.
  • Charges dismissed in kidnapping/false imprisonment case.
  • DUI reduced to reckless driving for an individual facing 180 days.