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Gainesville Criminal Defense Lawyer

Your arrest was just the beginning of what could be a very frightening time in your life. You will face court dates, police interrogations, and uncertainty about your future. However, it is important to note that an arrest is not a conviction, and you are not alone in this.

A Gainesville criminal defense lawyer from Meldon Law will be a fierce advocate on your behalf. Whether you’re a UF student facing a DUI or a longtime Gainesville resident in legal hot water, our lawyers offer hope.

Call our team today to discuss fighting your charges at (352) 373-8000.

Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Have Experience Fighting All Types of Charges

We’ve fought for members of the Gainesville community for years. Our firm tailors our defense strategies to the needs of every client, fighting for a dismissal, acquittal, or reduction of charges.

Our lawyers uphold clients’ rights throughout the process, seeking the best possible outcome for people facing:

Our team also represents UF students at Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution (SCCR) disciplinary hearings.

Our Lawyers Tackle Even the Most Complex-Seeming Cases

You could face state or federal charges, even if your crime solely took place in Gainesville. The severity of the charges you face depends on many factors, including the details of the alleged crime, your criminal history, and other extenuating circumstances. But why are we discussing this?

Cases with both state and federal charges may be more complicated. Our attorneys have successfully fought charges at the state and federal levels. We don’t want you to worry that your case is too complex for our team to handle. The court has not decided your fate. You have options for protecting your future––and one of those options includes partnering with Meldon Law.

Meldon Team

We are here for you 24/7

(Consultations are Free)

Call Us Now

The Impact of a Criminal Conviction in Gainesville

It is important to remember that being charged is not the same as being convicted. A charge means the prosecution believes you committed a crime. A conviction means that you went through the judicial process, and the court found you guilty.

However, this does not mean you should take an arrest or charge lightly. Criminal penalties are severe and differ depending on the charge you face.

For example:

  • If you were arrested for drug possession, you could face years in prison, and the crime could remain on your record forever. You could face drug possession charges for something as simple as having a baggie of cocaine or a bottle of Adderall without a valid prescription.
  • If you were arrested for a sex crime (such as sexual battery), you could face third-degree felony (or higher) charges. This could result in prison time, fines, and inclusion on a sex offender registry.

If you have a prior conviction, you could face higher penalties.

A Conviction Affects Every Aspect of Your Life

The penalties listed above are often just the beginning. A conviction can have long-lasting effects on other areas of your life, such as:

  • Changing your family and friends’ perception of you
  • Hurting your career prospects
  • Sidelining you from your life’s goals
  • Getting you kicked out of school
  • Complicating custodial matters

A conviction can change the course of your life as you know it. We understand that all of this sounds heavy. However, we want to reiterate that our firm believes in the justice system—you are innocent until proven guilty. We’re here to protect your future and reputation.

Why Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer From Meldon Law?

Criminal defense law can feel impossible to understand without a legal education. While state law permits those charged with a crime to represent themselves, this is not the way to go. It’s all too easy to make mistakes. Knowing how to apply processes like depositions, discovery, and subpoenas is essential. Are these terms like a foreign language to you? Don’t worry. We make this complex process simple for you.

Our experienced attorneys form the backbone of our team. We’re flexible, capable of applying our legal understanding to your unique case. And, to ensure that you never feel confused or left out, we’re here to explain every detail.

We’re Guided by Five Key Principles

Our clients are family, so we care about them like our own. These values guide the direction of our firm:

  • Compassion: Everyone makes mistakes. We aren’t here to judge or question your actions. Rather, we approach our clients’ cases with compassion and empathy. When you tell us about the charges you’re facing, we’ll listen intently to make sure we get every detail right.
  • Accountability: Our team takes accountability for everything that happens with your case. We strive to ensure that every action we take is in your best interest.
  • Reliability: No one wants to work with a flaky lawyer. You don’t have to worry about that when we’re advocating for you. Our countless testimonials describe us as “responsive” and “committed.”
  • Excellence: In a criminal defense case, anything short of excellence just won’t cut it. We’re always working toward pushing the boundaries of legal service. “Good enough” isn’t good enough. We aim higher.
  • Success driven: We wear our past client victories with pride but are always looking ahead to the next case. Defending you isn’t just our job; it’s our calling.

Our Lawyers Offer Comprehensive Legal Services to Defendants in Gainesville

You have enough on your plate right now. While worrying about your future, you shouldn’t have to worry about your legal case, too. When pursuing the best possible outcome, we:

  • Gather evidence and build your case: Details are everything in a criminal defense case. Whether you’ve been charged with a DUI or drug possession, we’ll get our hands dirty uncovering the facts of your situation. When building your defense, we interview witnesses, submit informational requests, and work alongside relevant field consultants.
  • Keep you in the loop: This is your case, and your future is at stake. So, you deserve to know our plans and every development, and we keep you updated on them. Additionally, we’ll always break down complicated legalese, so you can make informed decisions.
  • Represent you in court: With us by your side, you’ll never be alone. If your case proceeds to trial, we can call upon witnesses and prepare you to put your best foot forward. Our Gainesville criminal defense lawyers stay up to date on relevant legal strategies, so you don’t need to.
  • Negotiate your sentence: We can negotiate a plea deal if that is the best option in your case. We understand that plea deals often sound counterintuitive, so we can explain why this approach might make sense for you.

We Guide You Through Each Step of the Criminal Justice System in Gainesville

We can’t emphasize this enough: you’re not alone. You’re not the first person to face criminal charges in Gainesville, and you certainly don’t have to accept a conviction without a fight. You have options.

With Meldon Law on your side, you have a trusted friend, ally, and advocate on your side. You’ll have our team’s unyielding support as your case moves through these stages:

  • Arraignment: Arraignment, also known as an initial hearing, outlines what charges a defendant faces. Depending on the severity of your crimes, you could be released from custody after arraignment. Alternatively, the court could set bail, and you could go to jail until your trial date.
  • Discovery: Discovery is a legal term that describes gathering evidence. During discovery, both the defense and prosecution (the legal team attempting to convict you of a crime) will interview witnesses and obtain other information. Both sides work with the same evidence.
  • Pre-trial proceedings: Pre-trial proceedings cover everything from plea bargains to motions. Plea bargains, which we explained earlier, entail pleading guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. Motions are legal requests that can alter the course of a trial. For instance, we may motion for your case’s dismissal or the removal of evidence.
  • Trial: Trials involve both parties arguing their case. As your criminal defense lawyer, we’ll assert that you’re innocent or deserve reduced charges. The prosecution will take the opposite stance, attempting to penalize you under the fullest extent of the law. Trials are typically overseen by judges and determined by juries (members of the public tasked with deciding if an individual is guilty or not).
  • Sentencing: If you’re found guilty, a sentencing hearing will take place. During this hearing, the judge decides your fate. You don’t attend a hearing if you’re acquitted (found not guilty).

There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into building a successful criminal defense case in Gainesville. These measures include questioning witnesses and other parties, filling out paperwork, and strategizing our next steps. You don’t have to worry about these obligations, however. Once your case is in our hands, you can breathe easy.

We are here for you 24/7

(Consultations are Free)

Call Us Now

We’re Proud of the Feedback We’ve Received From Our Gainesville Clients

We can talk all day about why you’d want to work with a Gainesville criminal defense attorney from our team, but we can only provide part of the story. To learn more about Meldon Law’s culture, read these testimonials from our previous clients:

  • “My team with Meldon Law was awesome and were really helpful during a difficult time in my life. They showed how much they cared and took their time to explain the process to me. I’m happy I chose them to help me with my case.”
  • “Meldon Law is great. Whenever I have a legal question I know I can depend on Jeffrey Meldon and Jessica Thomason to give educated and trusted advice on the situation. I refer my friends and family to them and they will always be the first place I go if I ever need legal representation for anything.”
  • “The prosecutor was no match for Tanner; he is a BEAST in the courtroom and after the judge gave me the not guilty ruling she told him, ‘Wow, you are really good.’”

Our firm is also a proud pillar of the Gainesville, FL, community. We’re the official law firm partner of the Florida Gators, and lead several initiatives that aim to make a Gainesville a better place:

We’re more than lawyers. We’re Gainesville natives and proud members of the community.

We use our standing in the community to your benefit. Our firm has spent decades making relationships with those in the local judicial branch. We will leverage this history to fight for the outcome you deserve. If you’re facing fines or jail time because of a mistake or misunderstanding, we’ll fight to get your life back.

Meldon Law C.A.R.E.S. for Our DWI Clients

Meldon Law has been serving Gainesville residents for so long, we have become part of the fabric of the community. Meldon Law C.A.R.E.S., which means our core values include:

  • Compassion: Your attorney will be committed to your well-being and fighting for your rights.
  • Accountability: Your DWI attorney will take responsibility for your case and work tirelessly to generate the best possible outcome.
  • Reliability: Your lawyer will be there to answer your questions promptly and stand up for you throughout the trial process.
  • Excellence: Your lawyer will have extensive experience and knowledge of the criminal justice system. Our firm is a force to be reckoned with, inside and outside the courtroom.
  • Success: Your lawyer will base their success on the quality of the outcome they can achieve in your case. Whether it’s a deal for reduced charges or an acquittal, we’ll put all our energy into giving you the best possible result.

A DWI conviction can turn your life upside down for many years. We know that, and that’s why we are committed to fighting our clients’ cases with the same intensity that we would fight a case for ourselves or a family member. Representing defendants in criminal cases is not just a job to us. Our attorneys believe they have received a calling to do this work and fight for you in one of the most difficult situations you will ever face.

What Is DWI in Florida?

Man Driving While Drinking a Bottle of Beer on a Daylight

In Florida, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is the same as driving under the influence (DUI). According to Florida Statutes § 316.193, a person is guilty of DUI or DWI if they are “in actual physical control” of a vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, etc.) with a blood alcohol level (BAL) of .08 or above or under the influence of illicit drugs or controlled substances “to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.”

What Are the Penalties for DWI in Gainesville?

The law enforcement community in Florida and the state legislature see DUI enforcement as essential to preserving public safety. Therefore, the penalties for DUI can be severe, even in a first offense.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), people convicted of DUI in Gainesville potentially face the following penalties:

First Offense:

  • A prison sentence of up to six months
  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • Up to a one-year driver’s license suspension

Second Offense:

  • A prison sentence of up to nine months
  • Fines of $1,000 to $2,000
  • Up to a five-year driver’s license suspension

Third Offense:

  • A prison sentence of up to 12 months
  • Fines of $2,000 to $5,000
  • Up to a 10-year driver’s license suspension

Fourth or Subsequent Offense:

  • A prison sentence of up to five years
  • Minimum fine of $2,000
  • Permanent driver’s license suspension

Your vehicle may also be impounded, and the sentencing judge may levy other penalties, such as community service or installation of an ignition interlock device in your car. It’s also important to note that the following circumstances can significantly increase the potential penalties associated with DUI convictions:

  • A BAL over .15
  • The presence of a minor in the vehicle at the time of your arrest
  • Being charged with DUI that resulted in property damage, injury, or death

How Can a Gainesville DWI Lawyer Help You?

Going to court after a DWI arrest can feel like a nightmare. However, you can take a deep breath and relax because Meldon Law is on your side. You have a right to challenge the state’s case and present evidence of your innocence, and that’s exactly what our Gainesville DWI lawyers can do for you.

Your attorney’s experience and knowledge may significantly influence the outcome of your criminal trial. Our Gainesville DWI attorneys have fought and won for many clients, which means we know how to build reasonable doubt and where to look for errors and weak points in the state’s case. We’ll thoroughly examine every aspect of the charges against you, including:

  • Reviewing the qualifications of the arresting officer to operate the breathalyzer machine and having our experts check the machine’s calibration/functional capability
  • Looking for witnesses who can attest to how much you did (or didn’t) drink before getting behind the wheel
  • Looking at the police report for errors in probable cause when pulling you over (For example, if you were pulled over for speeding and subsequently arrested for SUI, but we can prove you weren’t speeding, we may be able to get the evidence against you thrown out.)

We Will Deal Directly with the Prosecutor in Your Case

Dealing directly with prosecutors is another key element of the services we provide for our clients. If we can find evidence of misconduct or procedural mistakes in the case against you, we may be able to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor for reduced charges that would allow you to keep your license and retain your freedom.

However, if we can’t reach a mutually beneficial agreement with the state, we’re not afraid to represent you all the way through trial. We’ll take on your fight like it was our own.

Our Gainesville DUI Lawyers May Be Able to Help You Keep Your License

A Woman Lawyer on Her Desk Holding a Pen with Papers

In addition to fighting the case against you in state court, we can also fight your driver’s license suspension. After a DUI arrest, the FLHSMV will notify you by mail of their intent to suspend your driver’s license. Per Florida Statutes § 322.2615, you have the right to request an administrative hearing with the FLHSMV within ten days of the notice. If you fail to do so, your license will be automatically suspended.

Our DWI attorneys in Gainesville have experience fighting cases in state court and suspension hearings. We may be able to get your license provisionally reinstated so that you can continue going to work until your trial. We may also be able to get your car released from the impound. This is all part of our commitment to fighting for you on every legal front in your DUI case.

The Meldon Law Difference

We strive to stand out from the rest by providing you with the highest quality representation possible. We have a team of attorneys and legal staff that are able to give your case the attention it deserves. Most of our criminal defense attorneys are former prosecutors and combined have tried more than 100 cases, this allows them to see the case from all different angles and understand how the State may approach your case, which let us create the best defense possible for your case. They understand the ins and outs of the criminal justice system and pay attention to the small details, leaving no stone unturned as they defend you. At Meldon Law we will dedicate all the necessary time and resources to help you and help minimize the impact this arrest/charge can have on your life.

Considerations While Facing Criminal Charges in Gainesville, FL

There’s no going back in time and changing what’s been done. Instead of dwelling on the past, your only option is to consider your future. What you should do next ultimately depends on your situation. Yet, in general, we advise Gainesville residents facing criminal charges to:

  • Follow their lawyers’ advice. Ever heard the term “father knows best”? The same applies to your lawyer. Every piece of advice we give is intended to protect your future.
  • Keep case-related communications to a minimum. Don’t discuss your case with anyone other than your lawyer. That means keeping a safe distance between yourself and any co-defendants, other attorneys, and social media.
  • Be honest. We’re not here to judge. That’s the judge’s job. We’re here to get your life back on track. We want you to share every detail about your case with us, including what happened, who was there, and information regarding your arrest. That way, we can create a legal strategy that accounts for everything.

Get Support From Our Defense Team in Gainesville NOW

Don’t wait until it’s too late to protect your future. If you’re facing criminal charges in Gainesville, you want a lawyer who prioritizes one thing: you. Your case isn’t over until the judge makes a ruling. To meet our team and explore your options, dial (352) 373-8000.

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