Criminal Defense FAQs


Q: If I'm going to plead guilty, should I still get an attorney?
A: Regardless of your plea, an attorney is there to represent you and your interests. Even if you decide to plead guilty, your attorney helps negotiate the terms of your sentence, making sure all of your rights are respected as the case is evaluated. Occasionally we are able to negotiate for decreased consequences and penalties, depending on the circumstances.
Q: What should I do when I'm served a court date?
A: Inform your attorney of the date that you have been given, so that we can be present at trial to negotiate on your behalf. At the trial, you are likely going to be asked to enter a plea, set bail, and listen to your rights as read to you by the court. Depending on the severity of your case, you may be able to waive your first hearing.
Q: Why hire a local criminal attorney?
A: Most people searching for a criminal defense lawyer aren’t aware of the significant advantage they have when they choose defense local to their area. Most criminal attorneys take cases in all courts and counties regardless of whether they have any experience practicing there, but a North Florida criminal defense attorney has a better understanding of your local community. The Chauncey Law Firm, P.A., with offices located in Live Oak, Lake City and Jacksonville, Florida, provides criminal defense legal services to individuals throughout the North Florida area.

Unlike other legal professionals, local attorneys are familiar with the courts and the prosecutors likely to be working on your case. It is important that you have the best possible chance at success in your case. If you have a defense attorney working your case who knows exactly what to expect from the prosecuting attorney, your case could greatly benefit. The outcome of your criminal case could result in a drastic and negative change in your life or it could result in little to no change. It is your attorney’s goal to help get you the outcome that results in the least amount of negative change in your life and that of your family.

If you were arrested in North Florida, you need the best criminal defense attorney in North Florida to assist you. If you were arrested anywhere in North Florida, whether it be Live Oak, Lake City, Mayo, Jasper, Madison, Perry, Cross City and Jacksonville or any surrounding city, Attorney Anthony W. Chauncey is able to utilize his experience to obtain the best outcome for you.

Q: What Penalties am I Facing?
A: At The Chauncey Law Firm, we stay current on the latest changes to sentencing laws. It is our mission to keep our clients informed of all aspects of their case, including any potential sentencing options.

During the initial free and confidential consultation, we encourage you to ask as many questions as you need, so that you can gain a thorough understanding of what you’re facing and what outcomes we will aggressively and passionately pursue on your behalf.

Criminal charges are generally either misdemeanors or felonies. What specific misdemeanor crime you were charged with is determined by how many days the potential penalty may be. The typical range is between 60 days to 1 year of incarceration time. The maximum sentence you can receive for each misdemeanor count is one year in jail. How much time you’re facing for a felony, depends on the nature of the charge

  • Capital Felony (E.g. First Degree Murder): the Only Two Sentencing Options Are Either Life in Prison Without Parole or the Death Penalty.
  • Life Felony (E.g. Armed Robbery, Kidnapping): Punishable by Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole + $15,000 Fine.
  • First Degree Felony (E.g. Dui Manslaughter): Punishable by up to 30 Years in Prison, 30 Years of Probation + $10,000 Fine.
  • Second Degree Felony (E.g. Aggravated Battery): Punishable by up to 15 Years in Prison, 15 Years of Probation + $5,000 Fine.
  • Third Degree Felony (E.g. Possession of Cocaine): Punishable by up to Five Years in Prison, 5 Years of Probation + $5,000 Fine.
  • First Degree Misdemeanor (E.g. Dui): Punishable by up to One Year in Jail, One Year of Probation + $1,000 Fine.
  • Second Degree Misdemeanor (E.g. Driving with Suspended License): Punishable by up to 60 Days in Jail, Six Months Probation + $500 Fine.

Felony defendants are sentenced pursuant to the Florida criminal punishment code, also known as “CPC” or “a score sheet.” Each felony is given a numerical value based on a ranking system created by the Florida legislature. The higher the crime’s ranking, the more points will be assessed. Once the score sheet is tallied, any total point value of less than 44 means that prison is not required, even though the judge may still chose to impose a prison sentence. Any point total over 44 points means that a state prison sentence must be imposed unless the prosecutors agree or the judge chooses to depart below the mandatory prison term as called for by legal guidelines.

Other collateral consequences of a criminal charge other than incarceration include:

  • Losing your civil rights
  • Losing your right to bear arms
  • Difficulty renting an apartment
  • Inability to obtain state and/or federal aid
  • Ineligible to hold a public office
  • Ineligible to obtain certain licenses
  • Difficulty in getting and/or keeping a job

Q: What is a Withhold of Adjudication?
A: A Withhold of Adjudication, also known as deferred prosecution is a chance to have your record kept clean and no conviction entered if you complete the terms of your probation. If the court agrees to the deal, and you complete all the agreed upon terms and programs, the conviction is removed. No criminal conviction will appear on your record.

Typically, these deals are available for first-time offenders who have never been in trouble before, and for minor misdemeanor charges. But it is possible to get a withhold of adjudication in Florida, even for a felony offense.

Q: If I'm cleared of the crime, does it still go on my record?
A: Depending on the crime, the trial may still be on your record whether or not the court declared you as guilty. As your attorney, we can help you file for clearing your record, should this be the case. Sometimes we cannot have the record completely expunged, but we can file for record sealing, which protects the case from being used against you in many circumstances.
Q: What about my situation?
A: This is not legal advice about your specific situation. We need to discuss your situation and your objectives and your rights in detail. Since the initial office consultation is without charge, you can contact our office by calling (877) 315-5107 to schedule an appointment or fill out the contact form on our website, and someone from our office will call you regarding your specific situation.

Call me for a free case evaluation
(877) 315-5107