Criminal Defense FAQs
Below are the most common questions we hear in our office:
- “I just got arrested, what happens next?”
- “If I get a DUI, should I take the breath test? What do I do?”
- “Do I need an attorney?”
- “Can you keep this charge off my record?”
- “If I am being investigated or have been arrested, should I talk to the Police?”
1. “I just got arrested, what happens next?”
If you have been arrested, within 24 hours of the arrest, you will go in front of a Judge who will set your bail. In most cases, there will be a bail set. If it is a Violation of Probation, it is common that there will be no bail set immediately. Next, the case will be forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office who will decide whether to file formal charges against you. The State will usually make this decision within 30 days. The State will not necessarily file the same charges that you were arrested for. If you are going to hire an attorney, it is always better to do so before the State has formally charged you.
2. “If I get a DUI, should I take the breath test? What do I do?”
One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that if they take the breath test and blow under the legal limit (.08 in Florida), the Officer will let you go home. This is not the case. You are only given the option to take the breath test after you have been arrested. Unfortunately, in most DUI stops, once the Officer asks you to get out the car and “perform some tests”, you are going to jail. The best thing to do (besides not drinking and driving at all) is be very polite to the Officer and refuse all tests. Going to jail may be unavoidable but the less you do, the less evidence you give them and the chances of convicting you of DUI then becomes less likely.
3. “Do I need an attorney?”
We can never tell you that you NEED an attorney. We don’t know what your financial situation is, and the hiring of an attorney is always an unforseen expense. I would urge you to call our office and ask as many questions as it takes for you to make this decision. We are well known for our fair fees and there are NO CONSULTATION FEES in criminal cases. We will sit down with you and discuss the case with you at no cost (in criminal cases).
4. “Can you keep this charge off my record?”
Our office will do our best to get the charges against you dropped or not filed at all. In cases where you have to enter a plea, we will always try to keep you from being convicted. In cases where you plead guilty or no contest, the Judge has the discretion to convict you or not convict you. If you get a withhold of adjudication, you will not be convicted and will often have the option of getting your record sealed. If you are convicted of the charge, you will not be able to clear it from your record, period. This can be a confusing concept and we will answer any questions you have about this subject.
5. “If I am being investigated or have been arrested, should I talk to the Police?”
Under no circumstance should you talk to the police without consulting an attorney. The only thing that can happen is that you help the police implicate you in the crime. You must state that you wish to remain silent and further would like to consult with a lawyer. You must remain silent and not speak to anyone but your attorney about the incide before and after the arrest. Once you have invoked your right to a lawyer, the officer must stop questioning you. There are rare times when speaking to the Police will help your situation, but this is not a decision you should make yourself.
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