Golden Ring of Silence in Police Questioning

Light travels faster than sound, and you may appear brilliant until you speak, then you may give police probable cause or evidence that can be held against you.  The right to remain silent can be a sound foundation to your criminal defense. We want the bad guys caught, and therefore Law Enforcement has a tough balance between protecting the public, and protecting people’s right to privacy.  Law Enforcement does not always get it right. If you are arrested, identify yourself to the police officers, and if you do not want to make a statement or answer questions, let them know that.  Not only do you have the right to remain silent, but everything you do say can be used against you in court. Potentially, the longer your sentence to police, the longer your sentence in prison.   Your mother may call you “son,” but probably that is not for the bright move that put you in the back of the squad car.  Exercise your right to remain silent, or it may go flabby with you behind bars for an extra long time. Talk to an attorney.  Tell the police you want to speak with an attorney and that you do not […] Read More

How To Stop The Questioning

If you have been arrested, silence during police questioning can be golden to your defense.  If you wish to remain silent, tell the police you want to invoke your right to do so, and then all questioning must stop. If you are arrested, identify yourself to the police officers, and if you do not want to make a statement or answer questions, let them know that.  Your silence can be in the best interest of your defense.  Furthermore, anything you do say can be used against you in court.  It is NOT like on TV:  law enforcement officers cannot offer leniency for your written or spoken testimony. Talk to an attorney.  You have the right to legal counsel if you are charged with a criminal offense.  If you are facing heavy fines or jail time, rely on a defense attorney to make sure the penalty fits the crime.  Do not accept the maximum penalty just because you do not know better.  Seek competent legal counsel to work with prosecutors for a correct resolution. The right to remain silent can be a sound foundation to a criminal defense.  Talk to your attorney regarding the details of your case to discuss possible […] Read More

Are You On Drugs?

Bring your prescription with you.  A lot of people like to put their drugs in pill cases in their purses or suitcases so they remember to take them on the right days at the right times.  That is fine, as long as you have the prescriptions with you as well. If you are living better through chemistry, be sure to keep your prescription handy. Though a scheduled drug may be legally prescribed to you, if you do not have that prescription with you, you could still be arrested for possession of a controlled substance and have that arrest on your permanent record even if you can show later that you had a doctor’s orders to take that drug.   Read More

A Good Choice in a Criminal Arrest

One bad choice can lead to another…but it does not have to.  If you have criminal charges against you, legal counsel can be a good choice in an unfortunate situation. The Sixth Amendment gives you the Constitutional right to an attorney in a criminal defense.  Legal Counsel is deemed so necessary in a criminal case that if a defendant cannot afford counsel, the State provides counsel without fee. Yes, you would have been better off if you had not allegedly committed a crime in the first place, but sometimes Captain Obvious picks inopportune times to not show up.  Good legal counsel can help you work with prosecutors towards an appropriate penalty or fine. The problem is, there can be mistakes in procedure and mishandling of evidence.  The other problem is, without proper legal representation, you could receive the maximum penalty.   A criminal arrest is bad—no matter if you are a celebrity like Vanilla Ice, or just plain vanilla—but you do not have to put yourself in a worse position by shutting down choices.  Seek legal counsel for the best possible outcome in an unfortunate situation.   Read More

Rights to Remember If You Are Arrested

Remember high school civics class, the first ten Amendments to the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights?  You may not have exact recall of Pythagorean’s Theorem or the meaning of onomatopoeia, but remembering you right to remain silent and your right to an attorney can be useful if you are arrested. If you are arrested, you do not have to answer questions and you can end an interrogation by stating that you wish to remain silent.  Speak up to say you want to remain silent.  Defendants can hurt their case by saying too much, and good legal counsel can help you work with prosecutors on an outcome that is best for everyone. The Florida Bar provides a free online pamphlet called “Legal Guide for New Adults” (available at http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBConsum.nsf/48e76203493b82ad852567090070c9b9/34557641d4c2f7c885256b2f006c5753?OpenDocument) which covers criminal charges and a variety of non-criminal subjects.  The language is in layman’s terms and its topics apply to new adults as well as those a little older than 18.   Read More

When It Rains It Pours – DUI Charge

Tim Deegan is not the first celebrity booked on a DUI.  But his recent arrest is a reminder of our rights in wrongs. A DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge means you probably got caught and there is evidence against you.  It is a conviction with fingerprinting and a criminal record.  However, there are things you can do—regardless of guilt—to take a sober step in a more positive direction.  One is to get legal representation. There is a range of penalties for DUI, depending on the circumstances, and the prosecutors of this area are very professional at doing their jobs.  You are likely to get the maximum penalty if your rights are not properly asserted.  A defense lawyer can help you work with the prosecution to find a resolution best suited for everyone. When it rains, it pours if your rights are not properly asserted, but you do not have to make a bad situation worse by shutting down options.  Seek competent legal representation if you are facing serious fines or jail time.   Read More

Intent to Steal

Shoplifting is a crime.  Perhaps you know this and have eliminated loss promotion from your retail regime.  All it takes is intent to steal to make an arrest for shoplifting—you do not necessarily have to leave the store without a receipt. Shoplifting charges come in different sizes and degrees depending on the value of the item stolen.  Petit Theft applies to items worth less than $300, and Grand Theft applies to items worth $300 or more.  Grand Theft falls in Felony territory. Watch what you are picking up, and remember, attention to hair and make-up could improve your appearance for security guards and mug shots alike.   Read More

Bond

Almost all arrestees are entitled to a bond.  There are two purposes for a bond, the first one is to guarantee your attendance to Court Appearances and the second is to protect the public.  A Normal Person charged with DUI gets $500 or ROR (Released on Recognizance), and Crazy Ax Murderer either has no bond or $10 million. Within 24 hours of getting arrested you are to be brought before a judge for “First Appearance.” The judge looks at the probable cause affidavits (arrest affidavits) and determines a proper bond. Typically, the court has a schedule of general charges and bonds; however, you can request a “bond hearing” in an attempt to reduce the bond.  A Bond Hearing is a mechanism to make arguments that the defendant WILL appear and is NOT a danger to the public. You may want consult legal counsel.  A defense attorney represents you and works to get an appropriate penalty to fit your action, as opposed to simply accepting the maximum penalty.   Read More

Arrest V. Notice to Appear

What is the difference between Arrest and Notice to Appear?  Not much . . . except the handcuffs, free ride to jail, nice used jumpsuit, and bond. When you are arrested, the Court takes jurisdiction over you because you are officially served by handcuffs. Within 24 hours of getting arrested you are to be brought before a judge for “First Appearance.” The judge looks at the probable cause affidavits (arrest affidavits) and determines a proper bond. Typically, the court has a schedule of general charges and bonds. You can request a “bond hearing” in an attempt to reduce the bond. Almost all arrestees are entitled to a bond. There are two purposes for a bond the first one is to guarantee your attendance to Court Appearances and the second is to protect the public. Normal Person charged with DUI = $500 or ROR (Released on Recognizance), and Crazy Ax Murderer either no bond or $10 million. A Bond Hearing is a mechanism to make arguments that the defendant WILL appear and is NOT a danger to the public. A notice to appear can be served by a Deputy or given instead of arrest. A notice to appear is sometimes given with a criminal traffic […] Read More

Not Everyone Can Be Lindsay Lohan

Some people should not drive.  Lindsay Lohan is probably one of them.  After she accepted a plea deal for her latest crash, the Judge suggested to her:  “Don’t drive.” Not everyone can be Lindsay Lohan.  Not all bad drivers go to luxury lockdown in a resort rehab.  Many motorists face jail time and fines after an arrest, and often those penalties are worse without a defense attorney. The prosecutors of this area are very professional at doing their jobs.  A defense attorney can help you work with the prosecution on choices to get the best resolution possible.  Even Lindsay Lohan has legal counsel.  If you are going to drive like her and follow her lead into the courtroom, bring a lawyer the way she does. Read More