A Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney spends most of his time assisting criminal defendants put their best case forward. Everyone is entitled to a defense, even if the crime was exceptionally heinous. But what, exactly, are the justifications for incarcerating people – often for years – even if they are first-time offenders? In other parts of the world, notably Europe, rates of imprisonment are far lower than in the United States. A Broward criminal lawyer will see many more defendants go to prison, even for substance abuse-related crimes, than a lawyer in another country.
The first reason why our society imposes prison, fines, and other consequences is simply for punishment. Retribution is perhaps the most powerful justification for the criminal justice system. Our Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer knows that the victims of crime firmly believe that perpetrators of crimes should suffer serious consequences as a result. Retribution is the age-old reason why most people believe in criminal punishment.
Another goal our Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney often hears is deterrence. The belief is that the harsh punishment of criminal offenders will make others think twice before committing a similar crime. The deterrence argument is often employed when promoting the death penalty. Interestingly, research shows that criminals are actually far more deterred by a high probability of being caught – even if the punishment is moderate – than they are by severe sentencing. The deterrence argument also applies to that offender: perhaps he will be less likely to re-offend now that he has experienced prison.
The third reason a Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney may be fighting incarceration for his client is incapacitation. This argument is most effective for habitual offenders and may be less relevant to one-time offenders. Incapacitating criminals by putting them in prison, where they cannot commit crimes that hurt society generally, is a favored reason for long prison sentences.
According to our Broward criminal attorney, another possible goal is denunciation. Society indicates that it seriously disapproves of criminal activity through punishment. Traditionally, denunciation often occurred publicly and in a humiliating way. For instance, in the pre-Revolution American colonies, offenders were often punished by being put in the stocks in the middle of the town square. While our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer’s clients no longer face the stocks, the humiliation for a typically law-abiding citizen can be overwhelming.
When deciding on sentencing policy, legislators should always examine the ramifications of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishments. That amendment has been construed, for instance, to prohibit execution for sex offenses, even against children. As the times have changed, our reasons for criminal punishment have changed. Our Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney is experienced and is familiar with ongoing changes in sentencing policy in Florida.
An arrest can damage all aspects of your life, including your employment prospects and custody and visitation of your children. If you have been charged with a crime in Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., which is an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal law firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.
This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For more information contact a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale.