He was riding his enduro motorcycle in a construction zone. The site had a sign posted but he did not see it. A truck entered the site so he left. He was then detained and arrested for trespassing in a construction zone. He was told that this is a 3rd degree felony. We have little money for a lawyer and I am terrified that he will be sent to jail. What should we do and how likely is it that he will have to serve time? Can we get it dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor?
His is a 3rd degree felony for which he faces a max of 5 years in prison.
If this is his first offense then it is almost certain that you he be eligible for a diversionary program. If it is not - or if he is not - then his case will have to be defended, whether by a private or a court appointed lawyer.
Diversion is a program which is designed to make you think twice about future criminality by way of making you jump through a series of proverbial hoops during a period of supervision, successful completion of which results in a dismissal. The program is owned and operated by the State Attorney's Office and they have absolute and unequivocal discretion as to whether to admit you, keep you or "graduate" you from their program.
Knowing that, the question now is whether or not diversion is right for your son. There may or may not be viable defenses to the charges, affirmative or otherwise, or there may be factual, legal, procedural or substantive mechanisms by which to attack and beat the charges without going through diversion.
The best way for you to get competent advise is going to be to have a face-to-face meeting with a criminal defense lawyer who can follow-up on your information with questions of her/his own, as well as review the police reports and citations and then offer an informed opinion.
Please take a look at my Avvo Legal Guide on diversion in Florida. It contains a great deal of information on the subject and should be helpful to you. For your convenience a link follows:
Please see: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/pre-trial-intervention--diversion-what-is-it-and-is-it-right-for-me
You can also view my Webisode on Diversion in Florida @ https://youtu.be/23JAu2eFhcM
Either way charges do not magically disappear. Unless there is either insufficient proof or if the police have exceeded their mandate the only way that charges go away with the assistance of a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer who tirelessly efforts on your behalf.
I hope that I have been helpful in answering your question.
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If he has no record and he was not there to do bad things there is no reason he would go to jail for this. If you can't afford to hire a lawyer get the public defender appointed. A lawyer may be able to get the case dismissed.
With no prior record and no intent of doing harming the site or stealing the products( which is a problem all over Florida ) there are plenty of options available to resolve the case without prison.
Yes, this is a felony case ; yes in theory it is punishable by prison. But, in practice, if your representation of the situation is accurate, he will have a whole bunch of options available to him.
If he has been charged, and you can not afford a lawyer, the public defender can be appointed. Please ask the PD assigned if he qualifies for pre trial diversion or pre trial intervention and gave them explain the costs, time needed, and benefits of the program.
While money may be tight, the peice of mind obtained from retaining counsel of your choosing may be worth it when you look at the costs of not fighting the charges correctly.
Realistically speaking he is not looking at any jail. Could you get it dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor? Probably if you hired an halfway competent attorney.
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