What to Do If You Are Arrested in Florida

Brent Horst, Attorney at Law's Criminal Law Legal Blogs

Licensed for 29 years

Attorney in Nashville, TN

Being arrested can be an emotionally traumatic experience.  But knowing the process—and what to do if it happens to you—can reduce the risk of mistakes that may make your criminal difficulties worse.

When you are arrested in Florida, the police take you into their custody believing you have committed a crime.  It is important to cooperate with law enforcement officials during your arrest—resisting only makes matters worse.  You may provide identification, drivers license and registration if in a motor vehicle, as requested.  But be aware that anything you say to police may be used against you, even before you have been informed of your rights. 

The arresting officers inform you of your right to remain silent and to have a Boca Raton criminal attorney represent you.  They take you to a police station for booking. You are advised of the general charges against you, although the details may be changed later by the prosecutor.

At the station you are fingerprinted and photographed.  You may also be required to participate in a lineup, give a sample of your handwriting, give blood and a DNA sample, or provide other evidence in a similar manner. If so, ask to have your attorney there during these procedures. You are usually given the opportunity to make phone calls, such as to your family and lawyer, at some time during the process.

Generally within a few hours of being booked, a bail amount is set, although the details and length of the process vary widely depending on the time, the seriousness of the crime, or other factors. Your attorney informs you about arraignment and the legal process that follows from there.

You cannot go wrong by remaining silentSome people who are arrested believe that just by explaining the situation, the police will understand and release them.  This is wrong.  It is just as important to remain silent if you are innocent.

Do not make the naive but common mistake of believing that if you act as if you have nothing to hide by answering questions, volunteering information, or not asking for a lawyer, you can convince the police to let you go.  When they arrest you, they have already decided you are guilty.   Any information you give them will go into the case they make against you.  So do ask for an attorney immediately, and do not answer any questions without your attorney’s advice.

When the police inform you of your right to remain silent and to be represented by an attorney, let the police know immediately that you wish to be represented by a lawyer.  Say out loud that you will not answer any questions. Be sure to seek the expertise of Miami criminal attorneys, or one that serves your area, immediately and do not speak to the police, your fellow detainees, or anyone, until the attorney arrives.

Important things to know if you are arrested

  • Do not resist arrest.  This is a crime itself and you can be prosecuted for it even if the original charge upon which you were arrested is dropped.
  • Do not give the police permission to conduct any questionable search.  The legal rules the govern police searches are complex – but if you give permission to conduct a search you waive any right against it you might have.
  • Be wary of what you say before you are arrested. The police don’t have to inform you of your right to silence and to an attorney until they take you into custody. If they convince you to talk to them before then, they can use everything you say against you. You are not legally required to tell them more than your name and address, so if you think you might be arrested, say little.
  • Identify any witnesses who might help you as soon as possible. For instance, if you are involved in a vehicular incident, you may be able to do this even before the police arrive.  Witnesses may be very hard to find later.
  • Do not talk to your lawyer in public. Only private communication with your lawyer is confidential. If a third person hears what you tell your attorney, it can be used against you.
  • Do not say anything about your case to anyone except your attorney – not to family members, friends, anyone in the police station, or anyone else. Anything you say to anyone else can be used against you.

A skillful Boca Raton criminal defense attorney can make the difference between freedom and incarceration.  If you or a loved one need a criminal defense lawyer on your side, contact the Law Firm of Brent Horst online, or call 305-809-7503.

A skillful Boca Raton criminal defense attorney can make the difference between freedom and incarceration.  If you or a loved one need a criminal defense lawyer on your side.

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