Helpful Resources for Floridians Facing Criminal Charges 

Man Arrested for a felony and a misdemeanor crime in Fort Lauderdale, FloridaBeing arrested for any type of crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony case, is incredibly stressful – especially if you have very little experience with the legal system. 

Here are some resources that you may find helpful as you or a loved one navigate your criminal case and search for a criminal defense attorney. 

As always, we offer FREE criminal defense consultations to anyone facing criminal charges in South Florida. 

Call to schedule your consultation today: (954) 764-6800

Court-related Resources in South Florida: 

Law Enforcement-related Resources in South Florida

  • Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO)
    • The Broward County Law enforcement agency. 
    • Here, you can view arrest records, request records, view community resources, and much more. 
  • Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office (PBSO)
    • Boca Raton police Department for people arrested in Boca Raton

      Boca Raton Police Department

      A Palm Beach County Law enforcement agency. 

    • You can look up records, search for inmates, file a police report, look up sexual offender information and much more. 
  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement
    • A Florida state law enforcement agency. 
    • Here, you can report suspicious activity, request criminal history, search the sex offender database, view crime statistics, learn about sealing and expunging records and much more. 
  • Florida Highway Patrol
    • A state law enforcement agency. 
    • Here you can access information about driver licenses and ID cards, educational courses, driver record information, public record requests, fraud complaints, and more. 
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
    • This agency was established to provide more humane care for federal inmates.  
  • Florida Department of Corrections
    • This is Florida’s largest state agency and the 3rd-largest prison system in the country. 
    • Here, you can contact an inmate, request public records, file complaints, access victim services, and much more. 
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
    • The FBI is likely involved in your case if you were arrested for a federal crime committed in Florida, or a federal crime involving Florida. 

Drug Crime-related Resources in South Florida:

  • Office of National Drug Control Policy
    • The mission of this federal office is to reduce substance abuse disorders and the consequences of substance abuse. The goal of the agency is to improve the health and lives of the American people. 

Prosecution-related Resources in South Florida

  • Broward County State Attorney’s Office
    • If you were arrested for a crime in Broward County, you will be prosecuted by the Broward County State Attorney’s office, on behalf of the state of Florida.
    • Here you can find resources whether you are a crime victim, were charged with a crime, witnessed a crime, or more. 
  • Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office
    • If you were arrested for a crime in Palm Beach County, you will be prosecuted by the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office, on behalf of the state of Florida.

Criminal Case & Prison Sentencing-related Resources in South Florida

  • Florida Prison Inmate Population Data represented explaining that murder, drug charges, sex offenses and burglary are the 4 most common crimes in Florida.

    Florida Prison Inmate Population Data

    Information on Florida’s inmate population
    • As of June 2019, Florida had 95,626 people in state prisons.
    • The majority of people in state prisons are serving sentences for murder and manslaughter. The second most common is burglary crimes, third isdrug crimes, and fourth is sexual offense crimes.  
  • Average time served for Florida crimes
    • Generally speaking, the possible prison sentences in Florida are:
      • Life Felony: Up to life in prison
      • First-degree Felony: Up to 30 years in prison
      • Second-degree felony: Up to 15 years
      • Third-degree felony: Up to 5 years in prison 
  • Information on Parole and Early Release in Florida
    • Under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code, someone convicted of a crime must serve 85% of their sentence. 
  • Information on gaintime in Florida
    • Gaintime is when someone in prison has the opportunity to earn a reduction of his or her sentence.
    •  If someone is serving a life sentence or certain mandatory minimum sentences, they will not be eligible for gaintime. 

Resources for Juveniles Facing Criminal Charges in South Florida

The Intersection of Mental Health and Criminal Defense Law in Florida 

  • Broward County Mental Health Court
    • Created in 1997, Broward County’s mental health court was the first mental health court in the nation. 
    • It is a special division of the court that handles cases involving nonviolent misdemeanor crimes allegedly committed by someone with a mental illness or developmental disability. 
    • As a pre-adjudication program, it will divert people into treatment before facing trial as long as they follow the court’s direction. The goal is to promote recovery, mental health wellness and to avoid criminalizing mental health problems. 
    • This way, as a diversion program, if a person successfully completes treatment, their case is removed from the criminal court system and will effectively be dismissed.
  • Palm Beach County Mental Health Court
    • If there is an issue of competency of the person accused of a crime in Palm Beach County, even if a felony charge, the case may be moved to a Mental Health Specialty Division. 
    • Incompetency may be found due to: mental illness, developmental disability, intellectual disability, a traumatic brain injury, or insanity.  
  • Improving Responses to People With Mental Illnesses: The Essential Elements of a Mental Health Court
    • Learn more at the Burea of Justice Assistance US Department of Justice 
  • Criminal Justice, Mental Health, & Substance Abuse Technical Assistance Center (University of South Florida)  
    • Learn how the organization is sharing information on evidence-based best practices concerning criminal justice, mental health, and substance abuse in Florida. 
    • In Broward County, the organization has a planning grant, implementation grant, and other projects. 
    • In Palm Beach County, the organization has a planning grant and an implementation grant. 
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