You may be concerned about your future if you have been accused of a crime. Both federal and state laws can carry harsh penalties. If you are being investigated for a crime in South Florida, you should consult an attorney who can carefully examine the situation and build a strong defense for you. Miami criminal defense lawyer Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and several federal bars. She gained extensive trial experience as a prosecutor with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. Late in her tenure there, she specialized in white collar criminal prosecutions in the Office’s Insurance Fraud Unit. She went on to open her own white collar criminal defense practice in 2010. Ms. Petkovich is an aggressive and experienced trial attorney who gets involved in cases as early as she can, including during the investigation stage, so that she can fight for the most favorable outcome possible for her clients.Federal Criminal Defense
Attorney Petkovich often represents clients charged with federal white collar crimes, including health care fraud, mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud, identity theft, money laundering, public corruption, and violations of HIPAA and the Anti-Kickback Statute. Federal charges are very serious and may carry penalties that involve years in prison, even for first offenses. Sometimes multiple charges are brought if fraud was used for the purpose of committing another white collar crime, such as money laundering or embezzlement.
One common example of a fraud crime is identity theft. Under 18 U.S.C. section 1028, you can be criminally charged for knowingly and without lawful authority producing an identification document, false identification document, or authentication feature. You can also be charged for transferring or using without lawful authority a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit or to aid or abet any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law or that is considered a felony under any applicable state or local laws. A mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison will be imposed if the court finds that you used identity theft in furtherance of mail or wire fraud. Thus, you should consult a criminal defense attorney in the Miami area who can help you try to avoid these harsh consequences.
Health care fraud is another commonly charged federal crime. Health care providers must avoid running afoul of many important federal laws. Failing to follow these laws can result not only in criminal penalties, such as incarceration, but also in the loss of your medical license and exclusion from federal health care programs. Under 18 U.S.C. section 1347, you can be held accountable for a scheme to intentionally defraud any health care benefits program or for using false statements to get funds within a federal health care program.State Criminal Defense
Under Florida law, crimes can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are crimes that carry a potential sentence of under a year. Felonies are crimes with sentences that can be longer than one year in state prison or jail. The most serious felonies are capital felonies, such as first-degree murder, which can be punished with the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Life felonies can be punished by life imprisonment and a $15,000 fine. First-degree felonies, such as aggravated battery, may be punished with a maximum of 30 years in prison if certain circumstances apply. Second-degree felonies can be punished with a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Third-degree felonies can be punished with up to five years of incarceration and a $5,000 fine. If you have been convicted of two or more felonies and receive another felony conviction, you may face a longer prison term under a recidivist sentencing law.
You should not assume that a conviction is inevitable. A Miami criminal defense attorney might be able to raise substantive defenses, such as self-defense, entrapment, or lack of intent, in addition to procedural defenses. These defenses might involve a violation of your constitutional rights, such as an unlawful search and seizure or an improperly induced confession. Attorney Petkovich will investigate the circumstances that resulted in your arrest and determine which strategies best apply. In some cases, she can prevent a defendant from being charged or even being arrested if she gets involved early in the process.Retain a Knowledgeable Criminal Attorney
If you have been arrested, or if you are under suspicion for committing a crime, you should take it seriously and retain a seasoned attorney as soon as possible. Criminal convictions can carry harsh penalties and may result in other consequences, such as the loss of a professional license or an adverse outcome in a family law matter. Mrs. Petkovich represents defendants throughout South Florida. Call us at 305-358-8003 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer in the Miami area.