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FAQ

Criminal Law:

It's only a misdemeanor, do I need an attorney?


The knowledge of criminal law procedures, coupled with experience in criminal cases, may allow an attorney to negotiate a better plea offer for you, or to get your charges "dropped". An attorney can explain the ins and outs of your case, and can advise you on different potential outcomes as well as outline the consequences of those outcomes. Additionally, cases in which you plead guilty or were adjudicated guilty cannot be sealed or expunged.

My friend had the same charges and he said it is cheaper to just take a plea and pay


In the short run, it may be cheaper to just get a conviction and pay a fine, especially in misdemeanor cases. However, criminal convictions of any type can have serious consequences in the future, making your case more expensive in the long run.

How will a criminal conviction affect my future?


Depending on the charges a criminal conviction may affect your future in the following ways:
· Loss of driving privilege (suspension or revocation of driver's license)
· Ineligible or limited eligibility for employment in certain professions or sensitive positions
· Ineligible or limited eligibility for admission to colleges or universities
· Ineligible or limited eligibility to join the Armed Forces
· Loss of civil rights (e.g. right to vote; right to carry a firearm)
· A criminal conviction may affect you in many others ways not specifically listed.

I want to get my record sealed or expunged


Florida law allows for a once-in-a-lifetime sealing or expungement of a criminal charge. There are several restrictions to sealing and expungement criminal records, including the type of case that may be expunged. Moreover, you may not have been adjudicated or "found" guilty of the charge. Only a dismissed charge, not guilty, or withhold of adjudication case can be expunged.


FAQ Personal Injury:

How does the attorney get paid if I don't have to pay anything until the end of the case?


In personal injury cases it is common to for attorneys to be paid on contingency. That means that the attorney will receive a percentage of your settlement amount or jury award. Usually the cost of the case will also be subtracted from such payment. You will know the percentage when you retain the attorney because under Florida rules the payment provision has to be part of the attorney-client contract.

What are the benefits to have an attorney in a personal injury case?


The client has representation and does not have to negotiate with the insurance companies. Furthermore and most importantly the client receives assistance to obtain needed medical care, especially in situations where monies are tight. The attorney may also assist with losses for missed employment, property damage, pain and suffering, and diminished enjoyment of life due to injury.






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Caren Bennett, P.A.
801 Jenks Ave., Suite A
Panama City, FL 32401
Phone: 850-387-1585

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