WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I AM ARRESTED IN FLORIDA?
As your lawyer fom Farkas & Crowley, P.A. may tell you during a consultation, the criminal law process in Florida has its own rules, procedures, and terms. These stages are critical for every case and by understanding them, you can better understand the criminal defense team’s process. In general, the criminal process goes follows these key stages:
- Investigation – An officer may begin the investigation or someone may report the crime to the local police for investigation.
- Search Warrant – Once officers have enough evidence, they can then request a search warrant in order to further investigate the scene of the crime and/or collect further evidence. A warrant is not always required, especially if the police have “exigent circumstances” – such as an emergency.
- Interrogation – Before arrest, law officers may interrogate witnesses or even potential suspects to learn more details about the crime.
Arrested in Florida? If You Need Help Call 561-444-9LAW NOW! In order to arrest a person, law enforcement officials must:
- Have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime. They can arrest them under suspicion alone and take them into custody.
- Arrest the person if they committed the felony or misdemeanor in front of them.
- Have probable cause to believe that the individual has committed a felony – even if it was not in their presence.
COMPLAINT AND INDICTMENT
This stage is when the officers decide whether or not to file official charges. They will need an official complaint that gets the criminal justice process started.
During this process, the formal presentation of the charges is announced in open court. This can be referred to as a “preliminary hearing” as well. During this arraignment, the charges are read and the defendant can plead guilty or innocent.
Bail is the money that the accused must put forth in order to secure their appearance in court. It is often paid in cash, bail bonds or can be a pledge of property.
PLEA DEAL OR TRIAL
Your criminal law process attorney will advise you as to what the risks and benefits are of taking a plea deal. If the prosecution does not offer a deal worthwhile or your attorney does not feel your case should take a plea, then you may go to trial. Here both parties will present their case to a judge or jury and the burden will be on the jury to decide guilt or innocence.
If you are convicted of your crime, you will likely go through the sentencing process. The judge will consider all of the facts and determine the best sentence, following the guidelines listed in the statutes. If you are convicted and feel you have grounds for an appeal, then your criminal defense attorney may work to prove your case or request an appeal from the courts.The criminal process can be extremely complicated.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ARRESTED
Being arrested can be a nerve-wracking experience. The outcome of the arrest may hinge on what you do during these stressful moments. That is why it is so crucial that you know your rights well before you have to use them. Here are some key things to remember if you ever find yourself being detained.
If you are placed under arrest, it is vital that you do not say anything without a lawyer present. If the police have informed you of your rights, anything that you say can be used against you in court. It does not matter if you believe that you have been wrongly arrested; invoke your right to silence, do not resist, and refuse to answer any questions until you have a lawyer present.
Remaining silent is different than denying everything. If you mistakenly deny something that is true, your credibility may be called into question, and an attorney may have more trouble defending you. It is also possible that the police may be able to press new charges based on anything you say. Even if the original charges are dropped, the new charges may stick. These kinds of scenarios are why it is so important to invoke your right to silence.
CONSULT A LAWYER
There is no reason not to use an attorney. If you don’t have a criminal lawyer, find one. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can request that one be appointed to you. Use this right to get counsel if you have no other options. Lawyers are professionals who know how to navigate the justice system. Giving a statement without one might only make things worse.
CUT OFF THE INTERVIEW
If you do start off answering questions for an interviewing officer, you have the right to stop at any point. If you do, the interrogation must stop until your attorney is present. Just because you started answering questions does not mean you have to keep talking. You can invoke your right to silence, and your right to an attorney at any point in the process. Just remember, the sooner you do so, the better.
CALL FARKAS & CROWLEY, P.A.
Make sure that you know and exercise your rights if you ever find yourself being detained. A criminal defense attorney will be able to guide you through the process and answer any questions you might have about how to conduct yourself if the need ever arises.
This is why you need the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney by your side. The attorneys at Farkas & Crowley are here to help you by providing insight into the criminal law process, so contact us today for a free case evaluation.