FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida. If you are facing criminal charges in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, here is one more reason to think twice before taking that plea deal. Spending any time in jail can not only mean the loss of your freedom in terms of your ability to move freely through the world, but it can also impact your ability to seek remedies through the civil court system. This means your access to the courts to get divorced, secure custody of your children, or sue a negligent person for their damages to you or your family can be limited.
According to the Atlantic, prisoners often struggle with legal concerns that have nothing to do with the reason why they are in jail. When it comes to getting a divorce or fighting the loss of custody, prison can lock individuals out of their rights. Many inmates want to leave jail with a clean slate. They may want to finalize their divorces or ensure that their children are protected from an abusive spouse. Yet, in many jurisdictions, these inmates may face challenges accessing the courts. After all, they are not free to attend court dates.
Women are particularly impacted by not being able to access the civil court system. They may be more likely to have child custody issues, may want to divorce an abusive spouse, or may want to seek orders to protect them when they leave jail. According to one government report, as many as 57% of female inmates reported sexual abuse before being admitted to the jail. 6 in 10 women have suffered either physical or sexual violence. While in jail, women may be educated about how these dynamics arise, learn ways to protect themselves, and they may want to turn their lives around. Yet, if they are unable to be present in court, they may be denied these important legal remedies.
Some districts have addressed these problems by allowing inmates to teleconference into the courtroom. Others have addressed the financial side of things by providing inmates with pro bono legal aid and helping them pay their court fees. Sometimes these cases grant women the right to see their children. After all, research has shown that separating a parent from a child can be incredibly emotionally damaging to a child. These cases are not only important for the adults involved, but for the children who may be denied access to the parent that they love.
If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to consider all the collateral consequences of accepting a guilty plea. While prosecutors may push for guilty pleas by offering attractive deals, it is not always in a person’s best interests to accept these deals. Sometimes individuals plead guilty, not aware that the state’s evidence against them is limited or even flawed. If you are facing criminal charges, protect your rights. Contact the Fort Lauderdale, Florida criminal defense lawyer at Michael D. Weinstein, P.A. When your rights, your freedom, your reputation, and your future is on the line, visit http://mdwlawfirm.com/ to learn more.