Florida Legal Information - Steven deLaroche
Frequently Asked Questions - Criminal Defense in Florida

Criminal Defense, Business Law, and Family Law from an experienced attorney in Daytona Beach, contact Steven deLaroche, Attorney at Law at 386-947-0909.

How to choose a Criminal Defense Lawyer

 The three best questions to ask when choosing a criminal defense attorney are:

1. How much experience do you have with my type of case?

2. Do you practice in the city or county where my case is located?

3. Will you be handling my case personally?

As a former criminal prosecutor and county judge I have years of experience in the Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns, and Seminole county courts. Many of my cases are in the 7th Judicial Circuit Court. Cases involving misdemeanor and felony offenses - such as drug possession, property crimes, battery and driving under the influence - are heard in criminal court. 

As an criminal defense attorney I've been advocating for clients for over 30 years in Daytona Beach, Port Orange and other cities throughout the area. If it comes down to it, you should know that I love trying cases and will work diligently to to keep you one step ahead. 

I defend people against a variety of misdemeanor and felony charges, including driving under the influence (DUI), drug charges and domestic violence. Employers have easy access to your record when conducting background checks, making it more important than ever to keep a criminal offense off your record. It is never a good idea to roll over and accept a conviction. I'm an attorney who will handle your case personally to a successful outcome.

How to defend a reckless driving charge

Reckless driving charges in Florida can be serious depending on the circumstances.

  • As a second degree misdemeanor the maximum penalty can be a $1,000 fine and a six-month jail sentence. 
  • If it is a first degree misdemeanor than you could get up to a year of probation, or go to jail for up to one year. You could also be fined up to $1,000. 
  • A felony reckless driving conviction can result in you going to prison for up to five years or five years of probation and a fine of up to $5,000.

Having a good criminal attorney can help you get the best possible outcome for a reckless driving charge.

Do I need a lawyer for a misdemeanor?

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor than you are wondering if you need a criminal defense lawyer to help with your court case. The short answer is to give my office a call and we will let you know how we can help you.

Misdemeanors in Florida can include battery, DUI, possession of marijuana, leaving the scene of an accident, and resisting an officer. Don't think that a misdemeanor charge is not serious. A first degree misdemeanor can result in you spending up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Afterwards, the conviction can affect your ability to get a job, rent a house, or even get a student loan for college.

As a former criminal prosecutor and county judge, I know what you are up against when your case goes to trial. If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor, you cannot afford to cut corners when choosing an attorney. You need a criminal defense attorney you can trust who will fight for your rights and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Boating Under the Influence in Florida (BUI)

With 1,350 miles of general coastline*, and ranking second only to Alaska in shoreline length, Florida is a boater’s paradise. If you include the mileage from outer coast, offshore islands, sounds, bays, rivers, and creeks, Florida offers an additional 8,436 miles* for boaters – and you don’t need a license to operate a recreational craft.

That’s the great thing about living in Florida.

What’s not so great is that Florida also leads the nation in annual number of boating deaths, including both seasoned boaters and the thousands of tourists that flock to our waterways every year. Alcohol, excessive speed, inattention, and inexperience are the four most prominent causes of fatal accidents. Unfortunately, these are usually present in combinations that all but guarantee a tragic boating accident.

You may not know that Boating Under the Influence (BUI) carries most of the same penalties as Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The same Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 in Florida for a driver 21 or over will result in BUI charges. Don’t let underage drinkers drink, either. Their BAC only has to be .02 to be illegal. The U.S. Coast Guard can pull you over and board at any time, for any reason. Don’t resist. The Coast Guard is responsible for the safety of your boat, as well as those around you. They can inspect you, or the vessel, without seeing you do anything wrong.

If you refuse to submit to any sobriety tests, you will be subject to a minimum $500 and 50 hours of community service. An arrest for boating BUI in Florida can lead to a criminal record, probation, possible incarceration, fines, court costs, community service, alcohol courses, and your boat being impounded.

If you are pulled over, in control of the boat, and are charged with a BUI, whether “native” or tourist, you need an experienced and tenacious Daytona Beach criminal defense attorney to represent you. For tourists, this means you may not have to come back to appear in court.

You can’t afford to be convicted of a BUI. Don’t go this alone. Let’s talk about your case. Call me as soon as possible at (386) 947-0909 for the best criminal legal representation you can find in Central Florida.

*US Coast Guard 2015 Recreational Boating Statistics 

Infractions, Misdemeanors, Felonies: What You Need to Know

Criminal Law is divided into three categories, with varying repercussions:  Infractions, Misdemeanors, and Felonies. The laws and punishments are specific to each, and are briefly summarized below.

These are the least of offenses, usually punishable by a fine under $100, and never by jail time. There is no jury trail, but you may hire a lawyer to defend you before the judge. The most common infractions are traffic and parking tickets, and states vary on what constitutes an infraction. Traffic laws are generally consistent throughout the country, unless otherwise marked. Another infraction is jaywalking. Florida has no jaywalking law in the books, while some states forbid entering a crosswalk with a Don’t Walk sign flashing. Ignorance of local or state law is no excuse. As with any traffic situation, safety comes first.

Misdemeanors include DUIs, shoplifting, domestic violence battery, and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, among many others. Florida courts can punish misdemeanors with as much as a year in jail in Florida. There can also be fines, probation, community service, and restitution.

Florida divides misdemeanors into two distinct classifications, which determine the severity of the punishment. A first-degree misdemeanor, which is the more serious of the two, can mean up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.  A second-degree misdemeanor, such as disorderly conduct, is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

If you plead guilty, you give up your right to a trial. Pleading not guilty results in a court trial with a decision by a judge, or a jury trial decided by a six-person jury. Either way, it’s important to have a lawyer defend you to try to keep your record from being tarnished.

A felony is the worst of crimes, and includes both violent and non-violent crimes, such as fraud, robbery, drug trafficking, rape, kidnapping, homicide, and more. Depending on the crime, you can serve up to five years in a state prison and pay up to $5,000 in fines (at the least) or receive the death penalty for a capital felony. Misdemeanors, if repeated, can be escalated into felonies. Committing a felony can have severe and long-lasting repercussions, and can prevent you from getting a job, volunteering, going to school, running for office, getting credit and much more. You need the most aggressive defense possible.

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you have no time to lose in contacting an experienced criminal attorney. When it comes to your rights and freedoms, you can’t afford to cut corners. Call me at deLaroche Law, 386-947-0909, and put my experience and tenacious representation on your side today. Don’t wait. The consultation is always free and you’ll be taking the first step to keeping your record clean.