The Legal Process & Sandefer Law Firm’s Role
If You Have Been Arrested What To Do And What Not To Do
As part of our commitment to you and commitment to excellence, The Sandefer Law Firm prides itself in educating and counseling the firm’s clients and being available at this time of need. There are some important things you need to know.
- Do not discuss your case with anyone other than your Criminal Defense Lawyer. This includes not discussing it with your friends, family members, cell mates, or anyone else. What you say, can be used against you and may be misinterpreted.
- Do not call or make any contact with any law enforcement agency, State Attorney, or anyone else without first requesting your attorney or consulting with your criminal defense attorney.
- Immediately identify any potential witnesses or evidence that may need to be collected and any information that will help your lawyer so that you can present it to him. If immediate photographs may be helpful for your attorney and you can take photos, take them.
- If you are contacted by law enforcement, immediately and politely ask to have your Criminal Defense Attorney present and do not answer any questions no matter how mundane.
- Never consent to any search or turn over anything to law enforcement without first consulting with your Criminal Defense Lawyer.
- Remember, anything you tell your Criminal Defense Lawyer is confidential. It is essential that you be truthful and communicate thoroughly with your Criminal Defense Lawyer.
What Rights do you Have?
You have certain rights when you are arrested regardless of whether you are an adult, juvenile, a citizen, or non-citizen.
Miranda, what is it and how does it affect my case?
If you are in custody before a law enforcement officer may question you he or she should advise you of your right to remain silent, that anything you say may be used against you, that you have the right to have a lawyer present while you are being questioned, and if you cannot afford an attorney that one will be appointed for you.
These are your “Miranda Rights.” They are guaranteed by the US Constitution. However, It is not like the movies. We often see in a movie where someone is not read their Miranda rights and the judge throws the case out of court. In actuality, Maranda rights appear to statements that are made and whether they can be used against you. They do not affect the legality of an arrest or other evidence in a charge. If you are not given these warnings, and you are in custody, it is possible that we, as your Criminal Defense Attorney, can file a motion that any statements that you made to the police may not be used against you in Court. You should keep in mind, however, that even if statements are “suppressed” that the case still may not be dismissed. There are many other issues you will need to discuss with your attorney.
Miranda rights are required if a person is in custody. Custody is a legal term and does not always mean a person has officially been placed under arrest. A person’s right against self-incrimination comes about at the point of custody. Courts have ruled that roadside questioning after a stop a vehicle is generally not considered custodial interrogation and may not require Miranda warnings in order for the statements to be admissible. The admissibility of roadside questioning often comes up in a stop for DUI or driving on suspended license.
Once I Am Told My Rights, Can I Be Questioned?
You can be questioned without a lawyer present only if you voluntarily give up your rights and if you understand what you are giving up. If you agree to the questioning and then change your mind questioning must stop as soon as you say that you want a defense lawyer. If the questioning continues after you request a lawyer and you continue to talk your answers may be able to be used against you if you testify to something different than what you said to the police.
If you are read your Miranda rights, the police grounds to believe that you have done something incriminating. In most instances it is best to get an attorney before making any statements. You do not need to be rude in invoking your rights And can simply indicate that you would like to have an attorney present before making any statements. An officer’s promise to help you if you make a statement or a threat to arrest you if you do not make a statement are not proper. Remaining silent is normally the best course of action and the safest.
Once you are booked into the Jail, fingerprinted, and photographed, you will have a right to make a telephone call. Most jails will also allow you to make calls once you are placed in to general population. However, these are usually collect phone calls. We accept collect calls from the jail. Remember, all jail calls are monitored so be careful not to talk about the facts of your case with anyone.
What is Bail and How is it Set?
The amount of bail or other security deposited with the jail to ensure that you will appear is set by a predetermined schedule in each county. Bail is to ensure your appearance. If someone fails to appear the person posting the bond may lose that money. If a bondsman is used to post the bond often they will be paid a percentage of the total bond as their fee. You can also post bail directly with most jails in the entire amount of the bail. That money will be returned if all court appearances are met, however, if you plead to a charge or are convicted of it, fines and costs are first deducted from the bail money before it is returned.
If you hire a bondsman, no money will be returned to you upon the completion of the case.
When you are taken to court for bond setting or reduction the judge will take into consideration such things as the seriousness of the offense with which you are charged, any prior failures to appear, any prior convictions, your time in the community, employment and length of employment, and other factors determining your likelihood of appearance.
It is possible you may be released on your own recognizance or supervised ROR. In that case you are not required to pay a bail amount but are normally required to contact Pretrial Services on a regular basis until your case is resolved.
What if I am a Suspect?
If you have been questioned (or are a suspect) and have not been arrested, it is important to consult with an attorney about your rights and the best course of conduct in your particular circumstances. Do not guess or assume what you believe may be the correct action to take. A mistake can be difficult to undo. You should always consult with an attorney before deciding whether to make any statements to the police or to any other persons. Your rights and your future could be at stake.
When should I talk to a lawyer?
The simple answer is as soon as possible. If you have been arrested or think you may be a suspect in a crime you should seek advice as soon as possible. The firm will be better able to advise you on actions you should take or should not take and we will also be in a better position to gather information which may be needed for your defense. Whenever an arrest is made the charge does not proceed to court until the State
Attorney officially files a charge. It is often helpful for an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable of the system to contact the prosecuting attorney before charges may be filed. Sandefer Law Firm will do that for you. This may maximize your possibilities of a charge being dropped, being reduced, or minimizing your criminal exposure.
It is important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. Please Contact us today for your FREE initial consultation.
The Legal Process & Sandefer Law Firm’s Role
- After Arrest – The Court Process Once a person has been arrested they will normally be taken to a jail. On some misdemeanors a police officer may provide a person with a “Notice to Appear” which will have a court date and time on it. A Notice to Appear has the same legal effect as an actual arrest.
- Selecting the Right Attorney – In selecting an attorney, you should choose an attorney who is well-respected in the field among Judges and peers.
- Florida Punishment Code – Sentencing Guidelines & Penalties – In the State of Florida there are various degrees of crimes. Most crimes are generally classified as felonies or misdemeanors. Felony charges are of varying degrees with differing consequences. The sentencing code sets forth minimum sentences and sentencing ranges a Judge must follow. We are familiar with the sentencing code and can explain to you how this may impact your case,
- Drug Court – Court Diversion Programs & Alternatives Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough Counties as well as most counties in the state of Florida now have drug courts. Certain cases may qualify for entry in to drug court which focuses on recovery and treatment instead of punishment.
- FREE Consultation with Larry Sandefer – Please feel free to contact us with a description of your needs. All initial consultations are free.
Larry Sandefer – Criminal Defense Attorney & DUI Defense Attorney
- Over 30 Years Courtroom Experience
- Former Lead Trial Lawyer & Division Director
- Over 5000 Criminal Cases Handled
- Hundreds of Jury Trials as sole or lead counsel