People get arrested in Miami every day for a variety of reasons. If you have been arrested in Florida, how it will impact your life will typically depend on the seriousness of the alleged offense you have committed. You are entitled to be represented by a Miami criminal defense attorney of your choice, who willargue your case in court.
When you are apprehended by a police officer there are two possible outcomes which are either: detention or arrest. Generally when you are approached, there should be a valid legal reason for it. This means a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is a foot or probable cause that you committed some sort of infection of the law. A police officer is also allowed to approach you and ask you a question or two. You can decide to invoke your right to remain silent under the fifth amendment of the United States Constitution and you are right to have an attorney present prior to any questioning under the sixth amendment of the United States Constitution. It is wise to identify yourself upon request and politely exercise your rights as described above.
The first thing the officer is likely to do is ask you for some identification and then you will asked why you are in that particular place. This is called detention or ‘stop and frisk.’ Under Florida law, no officer may remove you from where you were apprehended without formally arresting you. In the absence of an arrest warrant, an officer requires probable cause to believe you committed a crime in order to make a legal arrest. Don’t contribute to this probable cause by opening your mouth and answering any questions other than identifying yourself as required by law.
What happens at a detention?
The officer is allowed to conduct a search of your outer clothing if it is believed you may be carrying a weapon. This is known as a pat down. If something is found on you that is illegal the officer may seize it and place you under arrest. If the arrest is for a misdemeanor, the officer is authorized to have you sign a promise to appear in court and release you on site without taking you to jail.
The question of whether to take you in or not is left up to the officer. If the arrest is for a felony, the officer must book you into the county jail. Then you would have to bond out or be released by a judge after a bond hearing, with a promise to appear in court at a future date
The officer may seek answers to questions which he or she will add to a field interrogation card. You have the constitutional right not to answer the questions other than your name. At this point you are either released from detention or arrested.
Arrest in the absence of a warrant
You can be arrested without a warrant in the following circumstances:
• If the officer is aware there is already a warrant out to arrest you which is still current but another agency holds it.
• If the arresting officer has probable cause that you have committed a felony or you are in the process of doing so.
• If a misdemeanor is being committed and observed by an officer.
Under Florida law, some misdemeanors can lead to an arrest outside of the presence of an officer, such as but not limited to shoplifting, possessing no more than 20 grams of marijuana, committing an act of domestic violence and having on you a concealed weapon that is not a firearm.
Consult a criminal defense attorney to determine if your misdemeanor occurred outside of the presence of an officer was not listed under one of the exceptions provided by law. That alone can lead to the case being dismissed.
The process following an arrest
You may be taken straight to a police station before being transported to jail and you should be told what charges are being lodged against you. You might be asked to appear in a line up, give a handwriting sample, give a hair sample and have your fingerprints and photograph taken.
You will eventually be afforded a phone call and you should contact your Miami criminal defense attorney at this point. Your criminal defense attorney will arrange for your release, appear at your arraignment for you, file a plea in writing on your behalf.
An arraignment is when the judge reads your charges to you, allows you or your attorney to either file a guilty, not guilty or no contest plea to the charge. If your plea is “not guilty”, a date for a trial will be set. Your attorney will then have an opportunity to engage in discovery, obtain all the evidence against you and prepare a defense. It is highly recommended that all defendants plead not guilty initially even if you are in doubt. This will give you an opportunity to consult a lawyer if you have not already done so. It will basically buy you some time to defend yourself. It will also give your attorney sometime to negotiate a plea bargain if those are your wishes rather than subject yourself to the maximum punishment afforded by law.
If your plea is guilty or no contest, you may be sentenced on the spot or a date for sentencing will be assigned. Sentencing typically follows once the court is in receipt of a pre-sentence report from both parole and probation, unless waved by you.
Rights following an arrest
You have the right to:
• be told what crime or crimes you have committed and are being arrested for;
• know who the police officers are who are handling your charge;
• talk by way of a telephone with a variety of people including your criminal defense attorney, your family, any friends or a bondsperson as quickly as possible following your arrival at the police station or jail;
• a criminal defense attorney at every critical stage in your case. If you don’t have sufficient cash to pay this doesn’t affect your entitlement an attorney. The police department must pay for one if they intend to question you and you decide you want an attorney at your side prior to questioning.
Your rights when being questioned
These are called Miranda rights, which were first established by the United States Supreme Court as a result of the Miranda v. Ariz, 348 U.S. 436 case in 1966. They are as follows:
• You have the right to remain silent;
• You have the right to a criminal defense attorney who is present at all times while you are being questioned.
• Anything you say out loud can and will be used against you in a court of law.
• If you can’t pay for an attorney, you will be offered one at no cost.
• You can make the decision at any time to pursue these rights by not answering any questions or making any statements.
It’s possible to be released
There are a number of situations when you can be released from custody pending trial. For example, you promise to appear at your court appearance or you have provided cash or a bail bond assigned by the court so you can be released.
Remember, you are not guilty of any offense unless it has been proven ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that you committed that offense. This includes all of the elements of the criminal offenses against you. Every case has numerous issues which your criminal attorney can analyze, explore and exploit furnish you with a hard hitting and successful defense.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
Increase your knowledge! If you want to know more about how to resolve the problems you face when charged with a criminal offense in Florida, then you can follow Miami Criminal Attorney Albert M. Quirantes on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, please call us today at (305) 644-1800 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free, confidential initial consultation.
If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.