Palm Beach County
If you're arrested in Palm Beach County, the top-rated criminal defense lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm provide skilled, experienced representation. No matter how serious the charges or how much the evidence appears to be stacked against you, a skilled criminal defense attorney can almost always reduce the negative consequences. Our strategies have resulted in case dismissals, lower bond, pre-trial resolutions, and acquittals. Even in the event of a conviction, a criminal defense lawyer can often successfully advocate for reduced sentencing.
Palm Beach County is a thriving region on the coast of Southeast Florida. It boasts the third-highest population in the state and is the second-largest by land mass. It’s an incredibly popular tourist destination, attracting some 7.5 million visitors annually. But it’s also known for its agriculture, with one-third of the county’s land devoted to sugarcane. Palm Beach produces 18% of the nation’s sugar. It’s a growing hub for small businesses and northern transplants seeking a sunny respite on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
Palm Beach also has a sizable law enforcement presence. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office alone has 1,550 sworn officers and 700 sworn corrections officers. Although it’s the largest local law enforcement agency here, it’s one of more than two dozen in the county, most municipal police departments. These deputies and officers also sometimes partner with the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and federal agencies like the FBI in criminal investigations.
As longtime Palm Beach County criminal defense lawyers, the team at The Ansara Law Firm is committed to defending the civil rights and best interests of our clients. We have successfully represented individuals charged with everything from domestic violence to DUI to sex offenses to white collar crimes.
Communities we serve include:
- Palm Beach
- West Palm Beach
- Boca Raton
- Palm Beach Gardens
- Lake Worth Beach
- Delray Beach
- Boynton Beach
Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Florida is especially important given that the state’s leadership is so proudly “tough-on-crime,” and continuously passes ever-harsher penalties to prove it.
Our defense lawyers are not only well-versed in Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure and committed to professional excellence, we recognize defendants in Palm Beach County are often at a disadvantage when up against well-funded police and prosecutors. Protecting the rights and best interests of the accused is an honor and responsibility - and we take our role seriously.Palm Beach County Crime Statistics
Palm Beach County has a population of 1.4 million people. Authorities make some 31,000+ arrests every year, according to FDLE. Of those, 93% are adults, and the rest juveniles.
The offense breakdown is as follows:
- Theft - 11%
- Simple Assault - 10%
- Drug offenses - 9%
- Aggravated Assault - 6%
- DUI - 6%
- Weapons offenses - 2%
- Liquor law violations - 2%
- Robbery - 2%
- White collar crimes (embezzlement, fraud, bribery, extortion, etc.) - 2%
- Sex crimes - 0.6%
- Murder - 0.3%
Domestic violence in Palm Beach County is recorded separately by the FDLE. In a single recent year, there were nearly 4,400 domestic violence offenses - which accounts for 14% of all reported criminal offenses. Of those, 75% involved simple assaults, 20% involved aggravated assault, 3% involved a sex offense, and 2.5% involved threats, intimidation, or stalking.
Palm Beach ranks 5th in Florida for most reported violent crimes. FDLE reports more than 5,500+ reported violent crimes here in a single recent year. That breaks down to an incidence rate of roughly 379 per 100,000 people.
Of the roughly 100 homicides Palm Beach County annually, roughly 10% of murder/manslaughter incidents are classified as domestic violence.
Firearms are involved in approximately
- 78% of murders/manslaughters
- 40% of aggravated assaults
- 37% of robberies
There are also an estimated 28,000 property crimes reported in Palm Beach annually, which breaks down to about 1,900 offenses per 100,000 people. Most of those are theft-related offenses, most commonly:
- Theft from motor vehicles
- Theft from a building/structure
- Theft of bicycles
- Theft of motor vehicles
Remember that no matter what the crime or how much evidence is against you, there are always strategies a skilled criminal defense attorney can employ.Where Are Palm Beach Criminal Cases Handled?
Jurisdiction over criminal cases in Palm Beach County depends largely on the type of crime. For the most part, these will be state-level cases. There are five local-level courthouses in Palm Beach, with county and circuit courts sharing locations.
Courts that oversee criminal cases Palm Beach County are:
- Palm Beach County Court. The county primarily handles traffic tickets, boating infractions, violations of municipal ordinances and misdemeanors involving less than 1 year of jail time.
- 15th Judicial Circuit. Prosecutors with the 15th Judicial Circuit are referred to as “state attorneys.” They primarily handle felony cases, wherein defendants face the possibility of 1+ years in state prison. Not all felonies carry prison time, but there’s always a chance. Examples of felony offenses in Florida include sex crimes, robbery, burglary, theft, forgery, robbery, violent offenses that result in serious injury to another person, certain drug-related offenses, worthless checks $150+ and theft of $750+. The use of a firearm in certain misdemeanor offenses can bump it up to a felony.
- Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeals. If you are convicted and wish to appeal, your case would likely go before 4th DCA.
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The federal courthouse in West Palm Beach will be where federal cases are heard. Federal offenses are those that violate federal law, cross state borders, defraud a federal organization (I.R.S., Medicare, Social Security, etc.), or are especially heinous.
In some cases, there are alternative courts/resolutions that may be advantageous to Palm Beach County defendants. Some of these include:
- Veterans’ Court. This program is extended to U.S. veterans (combat and non-combat) referred to treatment/rehabilitation services after being accused of felony or misdemeanor crimes. It’s an effort to address some of the underlying psychosocial and health problems commonly faced by veterans that might make them more prone to criminal activity. Support for mental health and addiction issues is integral to the program.
- Adult Drug Court. This is a judicially-supervised drug treatment program that offers substance abuse treatment for non-violent adults facing drug-related felonies and no other open cases. It involves mandatory drug testing, counseling, and close supervision for at least 1 year. Successful completion will result in offenses being dismissed and first-time offenders will get the benefit of having their record sealed/expunged.
- Juvenile Alternative Sanctions. Pursuant to F.S. 985.037, juveniles found in contempt of court (usually for not complying with the original sanction/rules), can be alternatively sanctioned - usually up to 50 hours of community service manual labor. In lieu of more time in juvenile detention, there are also a number of community-based alternatives, such as electronic monitoring, participation in workshops or mentoring programs, Read to Succeed, or other projects.
If you’re charged with a crime in Palm Beach County, Florida, you must exercise your right to an attorney as soon as possible. Criminal defense matters are serious, and have the potential to impact your life for years to come.
Many people assume they will have a Palm Beach County public defender appointed to them. That is not automatically the case. It’s only an option if you’re both indigent (prove that you don’t make enough money to hire a private defense lawyer) AND you’re facing jail time. But even “minor” crimes can significantly disrupt your life. Convictions can make it tough (if not impossible) to get a job, claw your way out of debt, find a place to live, get a degree, or qualify for government benefits. Just an accusation alone can have profound consequences.
A Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer can help. Even when the state has substantial evidence against you, there are always strategies a skilled criminal defense lawyer can employ to help minimize the impact of this whole episode. We are experienced and skilled with a proven track record of success. Contact our offices today for a free initial consultation.
Contact the Palm Beach County Criminal Defense Lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm by calling (954) 761-4011.