Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense
1. If I am placed under arrest, what are my rights?
If you are placed under arrest in Florida, you 1) have the right to remain silent, 2) have the right to an attorney, and 3) have the right to have an attorney appointed to you by the state if you cannot afford one. Additionally, you have the right to know that anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
2. Can I be held by police without being arrested?
You can be detained for a period of time, but if you are to be moved to another location, it is a legal requirement that you are arrested. However, if you choose to go with the officer willingly, this is not a requirement. Ordinarily, being detained is related to a crime investigation and you are minimally under suspicion for the crime.
3. I was not read my Miranda rights, can this impact my case?
Yes. If you were not read your Miranda rights when you were arrested, anything you may have said to law enforcement throughout the arrest may not be admissible in a court of law. For more information on your Miranda rights and how your rights can change the outcome of your case, you should consult with an experienced attorney, call Eric M. Matheny today!
4. Can I represent myself in court?
Any person has the right to do so. However, without a thorough knowledge of Florida law, you are unlikely to be able to defend yourself skillfully. You will likely allow evidence that an attorney would fight to suppress, and an endless number of other legal actions that you are not familiar with.
5. Why should I hire an attorney?
Many people make the mistake of representing themselves and the end result is usually quite costly and damaging. Whenever you are charged with or arrested for a crime, it is always in your best interest to obtain the services of a credible defense lawyer that you can trust. Without the aid of a lawyer, you stand little chance of successfully fighting your criminal charges, or having your charges reduced. You need an experienced attorney on your side that can negotiate with prosecutors and look out for your individual well-being at all times.
I was wrongly accused of a crime. Do I still need a lawyer? Even if you did not commit the crime you were accused of, there is no doubt that you will need a lawyer to defend your rights. The introduction of DNA testing has resulted in hundreds of cases being overturned, where convicted individuals were discovered to be innocent and released from prison, sometimes tens of years after their sentence. This is proof that the justice system is not perfect and that you need a lawyer on your side that can fight the charges you face.
6. Should I plead guilty or not guilty?
Without knowing the specifics of your particular case, it is impossible to determine whether you should plead guilty or not guilty. At times, it may benefit you to plead guilty as a way of bargaining for a lesser sentence. Frequently, however, it is better to plead not guilty and to fight the charges you face. Either way, your defense lawyer can advise you on what to do.
7. Can the police search my car or property?
The police can only search your car or your home if they have a warrant or probable cause. If these factors are not present, this may be an illegal search and seizure and could result in the dismissal of some or all evidence collected.