Saturday, June 28, 2014

Areas of Practice

Since opening our St. Petersburg, Florida criminal defense practice, I have been asked by numerous people what our specific practice areas are. Often, those same people have follow-up questions regarding the area that is specific to their current legal situation or that of someone they know.   The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C. handles all criminal and traffic related offenses, including DUI.  We also take cases in federal court on a selective basis.  What follows is a list of the more common offenses for which people are arrested and/or charged.  Each offense listed includes a link to the corresponding section of our website to provide the reader with additional information.

As indicated above, this is a general overview of the more common types of offenses many of our clients face. Questions can be directed to Attorney Donald J. Kilfin twenty four hours a day, seven days per week by calling (727) 290-2543.

For more information, please visit our website:  St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Why Hire The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C.?

For most people, there are very few experiences in life that are as stressful as being arrested for a crime. The prospect of having a criminal conviction (or worse yet, a felony conviction), spending time in jail, losing your driver's license, or being branded a sex offender can be utterly debilitating. The potential consequences for non-U.S. citizens are even worse.

In many instances, there is much that can be done for a person facing a criminal charge. Attorney Donald J. Kilfin has nearly fifteen years of legal experience in the Tampa Bay area, including six years as a Pinellas County state prosecutor. The years Mr. Kilfin spent prosecuting criminal cases have given him tremendous insight into in the inner workings of the state attorney's office, including how criminal cases are investigated, charged, and assembled. As a young assistant state attorney, Mr. Kilfin tried cases against many of Tampa Bay's elite criminal defense attorneys and learned, first hand, how to develop and implement highly effective defense strategies on behalf of people accused of crimes. Those experiences made Mr. Kilfin a much more effective prosecutor and, ultimately, have made him a more effective criminal defense attorney.

After spending six years building thousands of criminal cases, and conducting over sixty jury trials to verdict (including first and second degree murder, manslaughter, capital sexual battery, burglary, arson and armed robbery), Mr. Kilfin was ready to enter private practice. The relationships he forged at the State Attorney's office remain intact to this day, and will for the remainder of his professional life.

As a Tampa Bay area criminal defense attorney, Mr. Kilfin utilizes the knowledge, skills, and unyielding commitment to professional growth and development that were fostered long ago. Years of practice on both sides of the courtroom make Mr. Kilfin uniquely qualified to evaluate the merits of the state's case against the clients he represents today. Moreover, he has developed relationships with some of Tampa Bay's finest professionals including substance abuse evaluators, treatment providers, and forensic psychologists who assist him in providing the high quality of legal representation he is well known for. There are very few issues facing an accused person that Mr. Kilfin has not seen before, worked through, and successfully resolved.

Every client that retains The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C. receives the same level of commitment to their case. Mr. Kilfin is absolutely relentless in his pursuit of attaining the best possible outcome for each and every client he represents. There are many defense attorneys in the Tampa Bay area, but there are none who will outperform Mr. Kilfin in terms of raw tenacity and commitment to hard work.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Trial by Jury in Florida

One of the fundamental principles of our criminal justice system is the right to a trial by jury. For some people, a jury trial is a viable option and presents the best opportunity for a favorable outcome.   The decision to take a case to trial, and particularly a felony case, is serious one and should be carefully considered. 

In Florida, with the exception of a first-degree murder case, an accused is entitled to a six-person jury.  In a first-degree murder case, twelve jurors are empanelled and sworn.  In either scenario, the verdict must be unanimous.   The verdict must be based solely on the evidence and testimony introduced during the course of the trial and on the law as the judge instructs.  Pre-conceived thoughts, feelings or biases on part of a prospective juror, that would play a role in his or her deliberations, are a basis to challenge that prospective juror.   Determining the existence of these pre-conceived notions or biases is the primary purpose of jury selection.

The State has the burden of proving each element, of each charge, beyond a reasonable doubt.  The standard of proof in a criminal case is the highest standard of proof in the American legal system.  The accused person is presumed innocent unless and until the state proves its allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.  Further, the accused has no burden of proof; he or she is not required to prove or disprove anything.   The accused has an absolute and unqualified right to remain silent which means he or she cannot be compelled to take the stand and testify in his or her own defense and the decision not to testify cannot be used as evidence of guilt. 

In a trial situation, the state puts its case on first.  The defendant, through his or her attorney has the right to a thorough and sifting cross-examination of the state’s witnesses.   Once the state has rested, the defense is entitled to motion for a judgment of acquittal.  A judgment of acquittal is granted where the evidence and testimony, presenting during the state’s case-in-chief, do not support the charge.  If granted, the case is disposed of and the accused is free to go without conviction.  If the motion is denied (and it usually is), the defendant has the option of calling witnesses in his or her defense and may also elect to testify.  Once again, the defendant has no burden of proof and is not required to do either.

If the defendant is found guilty, the court has the authority to sentence the defendant up to the statutory maximum and is required to impose any minimum sentence that the law dictates based on the nature of the charge.  If the accused is found not guilty, then he or she is free to go and is not deemed to have a criminal conviction.  Depending on the circumstances, the accused may be in a position to seal or expunge their record following a not guilty verdict.  Also, the state is constitutionally barred from re-initiating prosecution.

For more information, see our article on HG.Org: St. Petersburg Criminal Trial Attorney.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C. Launches New Florida Website

The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C. launched its new Florida website over the weekend: St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney.