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Your Rights

Your Rights


When you are visited by or stopped by police, you need to realize that you have certain rights in your dealings with them. Your rights are a valued part of being an American.

Protecting and preserving these rights is important to us as your attorney.

The Miranda Warning Outlines Your Rights

Nearly any TV show with police includes The Miranda Warning. Most of us have heard it so many times we can recite at least one version:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?

In real life, the police must provide you this abbreviated version of your rights when you are arrested. Your Miranda rights are very important and should not be ignored or treated as routine during an arrest.

Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent:  First of all, you do not have to speak to the police if you don’t want to about the arrest or anything leading up to the situation that caused the arrest. Exercising your right to remain silent is not an admission of guilt. It is smart. The police already believe you are guilty. Trying to explain, make excuses, or apologize will not do you any good and will likely provide evidence or statements that will be used against you at trial. They already told you that.

Ask for a Lawyer: So you can be polite but ask for a lawyer and wait to answer questions only if you have your lawyer with you. You do not formerly ask for a lawyer until you have been arrested. If you are arrested and have been asked if you understand your Miranda rights, answer politely and clearly that you do understand and will remain silent until you have a lawyer.

Identify Yourself: You are only expected to identify yourself to Florida law enforcement officers (police officers and Sheriff’s deputies, but not immigration or FBI agents) when you are stopped on suspicion of a crime or a traffic violation. Do not give any false information to the police. Say as little as necessary during the encounter, and let the officer do most of the talking.

Search And Seizure—The Fourth Amendment

This right under the 4th amendment of the US Constitution protects against unreasonable search and seizure and requires law enforcement to have a warrant to search your person, home, vehicle, or your property, such as a backpack. Under certain circumstances if police have what is called probable cause they may search and subsequently seize (collect) evidence of a crime.

Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause: Reasonable suspicion is a step before probable cause. At the point of reasonable suspicion, it appears that a crime may have been committed. The situation escalates to probable cause when it becomes obvious that a crime has most likely been committed

When law enforcement asks to search you, your home, or your vehicle, you have the right to decline if they do not have a warrant. You can’t be punished for refusing to allow the search. Again state this clearly and politely to the officer. However, they may search anyway if they believe they have probable cause, even if you decline.  

The probable cause may have to be provided and justified at trial. But police officers do not have to provide you with their probable cause if they search or when they arrrest you. 

In fact, common defense strategies are to show that their evidence against you was illegally collected because of the lack of probable cause or an illegal search and seizure.

Rights of the Accused—The Sixth Amendment

The 6th Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the rights of the defendant including

  • the right to a speedy and public trial 
  • the right to an attorney (legal defense)
  • the right to an impartial jury
  • and the right to know who your accusers are and the nature of the charges and evidence against you.

If you have been stopped, you may ask, “Am I free to go, or am I being detained?” If the response is that you are being detained, that’s your cue to immediately stop answering questions and indicate you will be wanting a lawyer. You may not be under arrest yet, but there is likely reasonable suspicion on the police officer’s part that a crime may have been committed and you are a suspect.

The Sixth Amendment  provides for the right to a “speedy trial.” Speed is relative though and as experienced defense attorneys, we will be able to explain and guide your understanding of the process of preparing for and if necessary, going to trial.

The amendment’s intention is for an accused person to get a trial and prevent prosecutors and law enforcement from keeping someone incarcerated indefinitely. Delays cannot be unreasonable, but there is no set timetable. This applies to state and federal cases alike.

Note we are providing a brief overview of your rights and it is not intended to replace advice from experienced, qualified legal counsel. Always discuss your case with an attorney. If you are contacted by law enforcement and have a concern, it is okay to have a learned expert by your side. If you have been arrested by law enforcement or simply brought in for questioning, you should not answer questions without an attorney with you. Obtain a lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest.

Exercise your Rights - CONTACT West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer

Adam Farkas and Jacqueline Crowley are experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers who understand the rights of Americans when it comes to being a criminal defendant.  We will defend your rights and bring a rigorous defense to your case.

Maybe you were wrongly targeted, arrested, or even a victim of police abuse. In many cases, the violation of your rights can be the key to your defense. 

With Farkas & Crowley, you get our experience as former prosecutors as well as our experience as a dedicated defense team to help you get the best possible outcome for your case. Call us 24/7 at 561-444-9529.

police reciting the miranda rights during an arrest

Looking for a criminal law firm? Farkas & Crowley, P.A. are the attorneys for you. They are extremely knowledgeable of the law and go the extra mile for their clients. Their expertise and impeccable work ethic are hard to beat. Available 24/7. Highly recommended.

-Marla Newman

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500 S. Australian Ave.
6th Floor
West Palm Beach, FL 33401


(561) - 444 - 9529


Mon - Fri: 9 am – 5 pm

Farkas & Crowley, PA

Criminal Defense & Family Law Lawyers