Criminal Law > Ferraro Law Group, PL

Criminal Law

The Ferraro Law Group’s lawyers have been practicing criminal law on Florida’s Treasure Coast since 1974. Back then, Russell J. Ferraro, Jr. was one of 6 Assistant Public Defenders to “ride the 19th circuit” consisting of Indian River, St. Lucie, Okeechobee and Martin Counties. In those days, it was not uncommon for an Assistant Public Defender to attend a docket call in Stuart in the morning and to pick juries and conduct complete trials in the afternoon in Okeechobee the same day! In 1976, Russell J. Ferraro, Jr. became the Chief Assistant Public Defender and handled all of the appointed death penalty cases in the 19th circuit. In 2001, Russell J. Ferraro, III (R.J.) began his career as an Assistant Public Defender as well. Although Russell rarely practices in the criminal courts anymore, R.J. has dedicated a substantial percentage of his practice to criminal defense, and draws from the experience and legal knowledge that Russell obtained over the last 35 years. R.J. was selected in Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” in the field of criminal defense.

The Ferraro Law Group defends clients who have been accused of committing criminal offenses in both State and Federal Court ranging from second degree misdemeanors to capital crimes. We pride ourselves in providing top quality representation at a reasonable price. We handle smaller case loads to ensure that your case gets the attention you deserve. The types of cases we routinely handle include, but are not limited to:

  • Criminal Traffic Offenses – these generally include misdemeanors such as driving without a valid license (NVDL), attaching unassigned tags, failing to register motor vehicles, reckless driving or driving on a suspended license (DWLS). Under certain circumstances, DWLS can become a felony offense.
  • DUI – The Ferraro Law Group dedicates a large portion of its practice to driving under the influence (sometimes called DWI) and boating under the influence (BUI). DUI/BUI laws require mandatory minimum penalties if you are convicted, which increase with each subsequent conviction. A DUI arrest can have serious implications on your ability to drive. If you have been arrested for a DUI, you should contact us immediately, as your ability to drive may have already been effected.
  • DUI Manslaughter – When a death results from a defendant’s driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol, the stakes are immediately raised.
  • Hit and Run – Leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor offense. It can be elevated to a felony if someone is seriously injured.
  • Fleeing and Eluding – running from the police will almost always ensure a trip to the county jail, regardless of whether you were doing anything wrong before you ran. Don’t Run. It is a felony to flee and elude the police.
  • Drug and Narcotic Offenses
  • Drug Possession, Sale – most drug offenses include a suspension of your driver’s license if convicted, regardless of whether you were driving at the time of the alleged offense.
  • Delivery, Purchasing – many people did not know that purchasing a controlled substance has higher penalties than possessing a controlled substance.
  • Trafficking and Manufacture – trafficking has to do with the amount of the controlled substance and not whether you have travelled or imported the controlled substance. Trafficking laws require a mandatory minimum sentence if convicted. The severity of the minimum sentence depends on the actual weight of the controlled substance.
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – this includes anything used to smoke, ingest, weigh or even package a controlled substance. Possessing paraphernalia is a misdemeanor if it can be linked to a controlled substance even if the controlled substance is not necessarily present.
  • Domestic Violence – DV can be a criminal offense and the basis for a civil injunction or restraining order. A conviction for domestic violence requires 5 days in the county jail as a minimum.
  • Child Abuse – child abuse is a felony offense, the degree of which depends on whether it is charged as aggravated or not.
  • Assault and Battery – Assault includes threatening to do harm to an individual and having a present ability to carry out the threat. Battery is actually touching another person against their will. This could also include throwing or spitting something at someone.
  • Petit and Grand Theft – Petit theft is a theft of less than $300 and is a misdemeanor unless you have more than two priors. Grand Theft is more than $300 and is a felony, the degree of which is determined by the value of the items allegedly stolen. Shoplifting and retail theft are variations.
  • Burglary – this includes going into a home, structure or conveyance without permission, with the intent to commit a crime while inside. The degree depends on what was entered and whether it was occupied or not at the time.
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Armed Robbery
  • Robbery with a Firearm or Weapon
  • Strong Arm Robbery,
  • Tourist Crimes
  • Internet Crimes – Sending child pornography via email or the internet and/or sexting over cell phones is a more recent phenomenon which has resulted in prosecutions in both state and federal court. Either action could result in a label as a sex offender, which requires rigorous compliance and reporting standards.
  • Weapons Charges
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Sex Crimes – can range from Exposure of Sexual Organs (a misdemeanor) to Capital Sexual Battery (a life felony) in Florida. Upon conviction, most, if not all felony sex crimes could result in a label as a sex offender, which requires rigorous compliance and reporting standards, and could subject you to a civil commitment upon release from any criminal incarceration.
  • Juvenile Offenses and Juvenile Delinquency – The Juvenile system is different than regular criminal court in many ways. Most notably, there is no jury in a juvenile trial. The judge is the finder of fact. If he determines guilt, he will adjudge a juvenile delinquent and sentence him as well. Sometimes, a juvenile can be prosecuted in “adult” criminal court.
  • Violations of Probation (VOPs) – Unlike most criminal offenses in state court, there is no presumption in favor of a bond if one is accused of violating probation. Additionally, innocence on the underlying charge for which you are on probation is not a defense to a VOP. (I hear all the time that I was innocent, but I took a deal because my lawyer told me to) The judge will determine whether you violated the terms of your probation and will not re-open the original case to see whether or not you were really innocent.
  • Bond Reductions – For most criminal offenses there is a presumption in favor of pre-trial release upon conditions that will secure your presence in court. Generally, the judge looks at several factors, including your ability to pay a bond. If your bond is excessive, we can bring you before the judge for him to consider reducing it.
  • Record Expunctions (or Expungments) and Sealing – Record Sealing and Expunctions are a valuable tool that the legislature has made available for first time offenders under very limited circumstances. Please contact us for more information and to determine if you are eligible.

Frequently Asked Questions in Criminal Law