West Palm Beach
If you've been arrested in West Palm Beach, you need a top-rated West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer who is knowledgeable, experienced, and passionate. At The Ansara Law Firm, our West Palm Beach defense lawyers are committed to providing our clients with the time and resources needed to protect their rights, fight for their freedom, and advocate for the best possible outcome. No matter how serious the charges or how much evidence there is against you, there are always strategies our West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys can employ to argue for minimizing the impact.
West Palm Beach is a community spanning nearly 60 square miles along the Southeast Florida coastline. Vibrant, diverse, and evolving, it’s the oldest incorporated city in the region, and is sometimes referred to as “Wall Street South” for its growing wealth and popularity among northern transplants.
Historically, as our West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers can attest, it’s also had a reputation for high crime rates - specifically violent crimes and felonies. The West Palm Beach Police Department, staffed with more than 300 sworn officers, reports that over the past two decades:
- Murder is up 17%
- Rape is down 3%
- Robbery is down 54%
- Aggravated assault is up 17%
- Larceny is down 60%
- Motor vehicle theft is down 72%
In a single recent year, city police made more than 2,500 arrests in this county of 117,000 population. The arrest rate is 2,300 per 100,000 people - lower than Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando.
Most commonly-charged offenses were assault, burglary, theft, drugs, and DUI. More than 550 annual offenses in West Palm Beach are classified as matters of domestic violence, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). The total “clearance rate” for crimes in the city is about 16%. That means of the total number of crimes reported, roughly 16% result in someone being charged with a crime. Even fewer result in convictions, though your odds of a favorable outcome are often much better when you’re represented by a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
Authorities in the city say the sharp uptick in West Palm Beach aggravated assaults and batteries is partially the result of rapid police response and advances in medical care. In other words, people are more likely to survive injuries that otherwise would have been deadly.West Palm Beach Drug Trafficking a Key Focus for Police
Drug arrests in West Palm Beach are also on the rise, despite the countywide decriminalization of small-scale marijuana possession back in 2016 that gave police the option of a $100 citation instead. Local authorities are specifically targeting drug trafficking operations in an effort to drive down some of the guns/weapons offenses and other violent crimes believed to be connected to the drug trade.
One example: An 18-month investigation coined “Operation Goodfellas,” where the WPD teamed up with the police in Delray Beach, deputies from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the state attorney’s office and three separate federal agencies to target gang-related drug dealing in the Fourth Street area of the city. That operation resulted in 18 arrests (most for drug trafficking of cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, MDMA, fentanyl, oxycodone, PCP) and the seizure of 30 firearms.
A number of ongoing policing initiatives appear to be focused on this issue, particularly in the North End.
The State of Florida defines drug trafficking as the purposeful sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, possession, or transportation into the state of a “trafficking amount” of certain drugs. The minimum quantities depend on the substance:
- Oxycodone - 4 grams
- Fentanyl - 4 grams
- Hydrocodone - 4 grams
- MDMA/ecstasy - 10 grams
- Cocaine - 28 grams
For context, 4 grams is about 135 pills if they are 30 mg each. It might only be 14 pills if they are 30 mg each. This amount carries a minimum mandatory 3-year prison sentence and $500,000 fine. Again, this is the minimum mandatory, as spelled out in F.S. 893.135. You could be sentenced to more, particularly if you have a prior criminal record or if any alleged offenses involved an aggravating factor, such as a firearm.
These are not the kinds of crimes you want to leave to chance. Working with a skilled criminal defense attorney puts you in a better position to defend your rights and push back against prosecutors’ stacked charges (a common tactic used to strong-arm defendants into a guilty plea).How a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Hiring a West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer at the outset of your case helps ensure your rights are protected - and that you have the best possible chance of a favorable outcome.
An experienced defense attorney will have the skill and resources to:
- Protect your rights. We’ll make certain law enforcement officers are following all the proper procedures during arrest, questioning, searches, etc. If we identify any of these issues early in the process, it can have a significantly damaging effect on the prosecution’s case.
- Negotiate with prosecutors. State attorneys have a lot of discretion regarding what charges to file. It’s not uncommon for prosecutors to file the most severe charges, specifically because they anticipate negotiation with defense attorneys. They may also file as many charges as possible, a practice known as “charge stacking.” At The Ansara Law Firm, we recognize these practices and know to strategically approach negotiations to argue for charges to be reduced or outright dismissed. Sometimes, we might be successful in convincing them to avoid filing them in the first place. We can also advocate for alternative sentencing programs, which often involve treatment, counseling, etc. and give defendants the opportunity for a clean record.
- Explain the legal process to our clients. Navigating the legal system can be incredibly overwhelming. We help clients better understand the legal process, court procedures, timelines, and defense strategies. This can minimize confusion and anxiety and help defendants to feel more empowered in the process.
- Preserve critical evidence. Hiring an attorney as soon as possible after arrest is important because key evidence may be time-sensitive. Security camera footage, voicemails, text messages, emails, receipts - all of these are at risk of being lost forever the more time goes by. Plus, memories fade, people die, key witness testimony can be lost if you wait too long to obtain it. A defense lawyer can work swiftly to preserve evidence fundamental to your case.
- Build a strong defense. Our dedicated defense team crafts effective legal strategies with careful analysis of the facts, meticulous legal research, and persuasive oratory skills.
Contact the Palm Beach County Criminal Defense Lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm by calling (954) 761-4011.