850.224.5333 Tallahassee 

850.244.5333 Ft Walton Beach

Family & Criminal Law

in

North Florida



We have Attorneys in Tallahassee and Ft Walton Beach to assist with your family law and criminal law needs.  Family law includes divorce, child support, child visitation, paternity and more while criminal law covers arrests for misdemeanor charges, drug charges, felonies, violation of probation and more.

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850.224.5333 Tallahassee

850.244.5333 Ft Walton Beach


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Let us help you get answers to the questions you have about your case

Questions we are often asked


This question and answer section is provided as a representation of questions our law firm receives and may not be relevant to your specific case.  Please contact our office for future information. 


Arrested
     
How can I help if a friend or family member is arrested and taken to jail?


     You can help by calling an attorney as soon as you hear that they are arrested. Often the sooner that an attorney gets involved the
     better chance there is to have the best outcome possible for your situation. This includes helping you, your family member or friend
     secure a bondsman and protect their rights that might otherwise be waived by mistake.

     
Are the phones at the jail recorded?

     Phone calls at the jail ARE recorded and you have NO right to privacy on those phones. Very often the State Attorney will request your
     phone calls to see what you talked about, who you talked to (and possibly charge them) and to see if you made any admissions to the
     crime or provided any information that can assist in their case against you.

     
What steps should I take after I bond out?
   
    1.   Upon your release you need to immediately contact an attorney. Or you can even have a family member do this while you are still in
            jail.
     2.   There is paperwork that you must fill out and sign which will allow the attorney to appear for you at most of your court dates.
     3.   The attorney will file for the discovery paperwork; this includes police reports, videos, etc. that the State has and will use as
           evidence against you.      
     4.   In our office we will upload the discovery information (when we receive it) to your private case file so you can view all of it from the
           convenience of your home or office.
     5.   The attorney will review the discovery information for questions, concerns or issues that may be defenses for you, which will lead to
           filing paperwork for illegal evidence gathering or other issues that may suppress some of the evidence or allow your entire case to
           be dismissed.
     6.   There will be several court dates, and if negotiations or hearings during this time period don’t produce dismissal or lowered
           charges, then the case can be set for trial.
     
                     Jeff Arrowood has tried over 115 cases before juries, and this experience blended with his past law enforcement
                                           can  provide our clients with their best chance for their desired outcome.

                              Let us guide you through this difficult time.


DUI

The officer took my license, what does this mean for me?

     When you are arrested, Florida law/rules require that IF you have a driver's license in your possession the arresting officer must seize
     it.  The yellow copy of your D.U.I. citation is your temporary driving permit for 10 days.

     
What is the 10 day period that I was told about?

    The yellow copy of the citation for D.U.I. is temporary until you take action within 10 days to secure a hearing to contest the suspension
     of your license, or file the paperwork to waive a hearing.   Almost immediately you will need to secure a temporary license (also called
     a "work permit") until you can apply for your license again.  The yellow copy (for only 10 days) and the "work permit" allow you to drive
     to and from work, school, church, restaurants, and to do your laundry…basically anything for the necessities of life.

   
Am I going to be able to drive during or after the case?


     This depends on what actions you have taken to secure a license pending the outcome of the case.
    
What are the steps in a DUI case?

     First, you are arrested.

     2.   You must remain in jail for 8 to 24 hours before you are released. (This is required by law.)
     3.   You either bond out or see the judge in the morning and are given a bond.  Bond is usually signature or $1500 refundable, or $100
           through a bondsman.  A bondsman usually charges 10% of the bond price as his fee and it’s non-refundable.
     4.   Upon your release you need to immediately contact an attorney. Or you can even have a family member do this while you are
           still in jail.
     5.   There is paperwork that you must fill out and sign which will allow the attorney to appear for you at most of your court dates.
     6.   The attorney will file for the discovery paperwork; this includes police reports, videos, etc. that the State has and will use as
           evidence against you.
     7.   In our office we will upload the discovery information (when we receive it) to your private case file so you can view all of it from the
           convenience of your home or office.
     8.   The attorney will review the discovery information for questions, concerns or issues that may be defenses for you, which will lead to
           filing paperwork for illegal evidence gathering or other issues that may suppress some of the evidence or allow your entire case to
           be dismissed.
     9.   There will be several court dates, and if negotiations or hearings during this time period don’t produce dismissal or lowered charges,
           then the case can be set for trial.


Misdemeanor
    
I was charges with a misdemeanor for having a little marijuana. This is no big deal, right?


     Wrong! What may seem like a petty charge can end up costing you the privilege to drive for two years, money for court costs and your
     freedom if you are put on probation. All charges can be detrimental to your future and need to be handled carefully.
   
Should I speak with law enforcement to try to explain my side?

    Never or should we say VERY rarely should you talk to law enforcement without an attorney present.  Law enforcement officers are
     trying to gather evidence and what you say can and will be used against you.  If the officers don’t want to talk to you with your attorney,
     it can be assumed that getting more evidence against you was their goal.
    
What are the steps in a misdemeanor case?

     1.   You will be arrested, then released with signature or a bond.  A bondsman usually charges 10% of the bond price as his fee and it’s
           non-refundable.
     2.   Upon your release you need to immediately contact an attorney. Or you can even have a family member do this while you are still in
           jail.
     3.   There is paperwork that you must fill out and sign which will allow the attorney to appear for you at most of your court dates.
     4.   The attorney will file for the discovery paperwork; this includes police reports, videos, etc. that the State has and will use as
           evidence against you.
     5.   In our office we will upload the discovery information (when we receive it) to your private case file so you can view all of it from the
           convenience of your home or office.
     6.   The attorney will review the discovery information for questions, concerns or issues that may be defenses for you, which will lead to
           filing paperwork for illegal evidence gathering or other issues that may suppress some of the evidence or allow your entire case to
           be dismissed.
     7.   There will be several court dates, and if negotiations or hearings during this time period don’t produce dismissal or lowered charges,
           then the case can be set for trial.


Felony
    
What is the difference between a misdemeanor and felony charge?


     A felony is a more serious charge and a person  can be sentenced to prison time from a year to the death penalty for very serious
     cases.  Whereas, in a misdemeanor case a person can be held in jail only up to one year.

While I was in jail, I heard people talking about how their jail sentences were different for the same crime.  Why does this happen?

     While some cases may look and sound the same, each case can turn on factors such as the particular judge or prosecutor in the
     case, the person’s criminal history, the victim’s stance on the case and cooperation that may be able to be provided to law enforcement
     in this case or others.

If I am convicted of a felony charge, will I be able to own a gun?

     This depends on whether the case can be worked out so that the adjudication is withheld. If a person has a felony conviction they cannot own or possess a firearm or vote in elections.


Juvenile

Will my child be released to me until the case goes to court?

     In most cases, a child will be released to the parent or relative. BUT that also depends on the charges against the juvenile. Some
     juvenile cases are considered so serious that the juvenile will be held in a juvenile detention facility for the protection of the family or the
     public.

What is the parent’s role in a juvenile case?

     The parents should retain counsel for the child.  However, the parents must understand that the attorney works for the juvenile and
     must work with the child and not necessarily the parents, unless the child wants this. Even speaking with a parent about the case has
     to be by the juvenile’s consent.
   
Is a juvenile case sealed?  Does it follow the person as an adult?

     Generally a juvenile case is sealed (to the public), but IF the juvenile commits a crime after turning 18, the juvenile charges can be
     used against them for sentencing.  Further, some crimes are so serious that juveniles as young as 14 or 15 can be charged as an
     adult, sentenced and even housed at an adult jail.  Some juvenile crimes have to be opened to school personnel, etc.


Probation (Violation of Probation)
    
What is probation?

     Probation is a restraint that the court puts on people that either enter a plea or are found guilty.  A probation officer is assigned that will
     check on you at your house and you must also check in at least once a month while on probation. 

     Probation is a chance for you to complete your requirements the court imposed on you.  This can be restitution paid to a victim, drug
     counseling or drug testing.


Are there fees associated with probation?

     Probation fees will usually be about $50 a month depending on whether it is felony or misdemeanor probation.
     

Can my probation be transferred out of state?


     Generally, misdemeanor probation can be transferred without any major problems, BUT felony probation is very different.  The state
     where you want to transfer your probation to MUST accept your probation before you will be allowed to move.
    

Is it possible to get off probation early?

     This is known as early termination of probation. You MUST have all your court requirements completed and more than half of the
     probation time period has gone by with no problems.  At that point you can petition the court for early termination of your probation.

    
What happens if I violate probation?


     A warrant is usually put out for your arrest and generally there is no bond in felony cases, which may mean you sit in jail until your case
     goes through the court system.  If you are found to be in violation, you can be sentenced up to the maximum time you could have
     originally received in your case.


     Sometimes, the attorney is able to argue to have you placed back on probation to complete your requirements, but IF you have violated
     several times those chances are diminished and you may receive jail or prison time.


How long does a violation of probation case take?
       
    A violation of probation case can take anywhere from several weeks to several months depending on the facts of the case.