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Sarasota Criminal Trial Specialist on Common Criminal Defense Myths


I Was not Read My Rights so do They Need to Throw out My Case?

An arrest is often one of the most stressful events that can happen in a persons’ life. Although, the case maybe thrown out in the future having your freedom taken away from you and being placed in handcuffs can be an extreme traumatic event, the psychological equivalent of losing a loved one. If you have watched any law and order or Hollywood movies you will see the police immediately read a suspect their rights simultaneous to the arrest. Although this could happen in the real world it is rarely, if ever, actually done. The requirement of the police to read you your rights only arises if you are in custody (not free to voluntarily leave) and being asked questions that could call for an incriminating response. So, if you are not in custody the police are not required to read Miranda rights. For example, if you are walking down the street and a police officer makes contact regarding an investigation he or she can ask you questions. If you choose to answer and are arrested because you incriminate yourself your rights were not violated. However, if you choose to not answer any questions you are free to leave.

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Will I go to Jail After My Arrest?

Yes, unfortunately jail is inevitable after you are arrested. Follow these guidelines to create the best defense possible. First, do not discuss your case with anyone other than an attorney. This includes not discussing the case with family, friends, cellmates, and law enforcement. Do not contact the state attorney (prosecutor) to discuss your case without first speaking to a criminal defense attorney. Second, you need to preserve evidence and make a mental note of any potential witnesses that could be beneficial to the defense. If possible, take notes, videos, and photographs. Third, never voluntarily consent to a search. Fourth, remember anything you discuss with a Sarasota criminal defense attorney is confidential and protected by the attorney/client privilege.

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Do I Have to Speak to Law Enforcement if They ask Me Questions but are not Under Arrest but They are Investigating a Possible Crime?

Simply put, no you do not. The police cannot threaten an arrest if you refuse to cooperate with a criminal investigation. You have the right to remain silent and you should never speak to the police until you have retained an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. Officers are trained to obtain admissions, confessions and inconsistent statements. Even if you did nothing wrong, any inconsistent statement could be used against you.

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What Should I do if Law Enforcement Wants to Question Me About a Crime in Sarasota?

You should let the police know that you would like to speak to an attorney and invoke your 5th Amendment right to remain silent. At this point, law enforcement is not permitted to talk to you.

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Do I Have the Right to Speak to an Attorney Prior to an Arrest?

No, you cannot request a call to an attorney before the police arrest you. However, the Miranda warnings do provide that you have the right to an attorney present before and during questioning. Furthermore, if you cannot afford a lawyer, than one will be appointed to represent you before and during questioning.

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Can The Police ask Me Questions After I Invoked My Rights?

Once you invoke your right to speak to counsel, all interrogations must cease immediately until the attorney is present. If you are forced to talk, you can usually get the answers thrown out in court. In many instances, the police may not read you your rights and not ask you any questions. If you voluntarily start talking, however, anything you say is admissible in court.

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