Criminal defense attorneys are a lot like doctors. People come to us when
something is not right, and with our skill and knowledge, we strive to
attain the best outcome. Much like a doctor, it is best to visit a
criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
When someone is arrested on a
, the police will write up a report, charge that individual with whatever
they think is the proper charge, or charges, and transport that person
to jail. With a
, the police report, or arrest affidavit is the charging document. If the
officer wants to charge you with criminal mischief, for example, then
that's what you will be charged with. With a felony charge, however,
the arrest affidavit is not enough. Both the Miami-Dade and Broward State
Attorney's Office have intake units - divisions of prosecutors and
paralegals whose jobs are to take sworn testimony from witnesses and officers,
examine evidence, and decide whether there is sufficient evidence to file
felony charges. This process usually takes 21-30 days from arrest.
Those days, however, are crucial
Imagine you start feeling sick but decide to wait a month before visiting
a doctor. By that point, you are in far worse condition than you would
have been had you visited the doctor a month ago. Same applies when facing
criminal charges. As a defense attorney practicing in Miami-Dade County, I
find the intake process to be a window of opportunity. It allows me 21-30
days to speak with the prosecutor before charges are even filed, as well
as provide information that may mitigate, if not eliminate, the pending charges.
Without an attorney working for you from day one, you are putting yourself
at the mercy of the prosecutor and arresting officer. The intake prosecutor
begins going through the motions of speaking to witnesses and filing charges.
These intake prosecutors interview many witnesses a day on many separate
cases. Your case may not receive the attention it deserves. Remember -
police officers often overcharge cases. What should be a simple misdemeanor
may be charged as a felony. Without interference from a Miami-Dade County
criminal defense attorney, that intake prosecutor may go ahead and file
that felony because they have no other information available that would
cause them to do anything different.
The point is - getting arrested is the first painful symptom of a potentially
dangerous disease. The "wait-and-see" approach is not a good
rule to follow when facing the possibility of jail or prison time. When
you, a friend, or a family member are arrested, you should immediately
seek out the advice of a criminal defense attorney. Those precious days
from arrest to arraignment may give the attorney the time he or she needs
to get your charges reduced, or even dismissed.
Contact my law firm
immediately upon arrest, and give your case the aggressive defense it needs.