As a Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer I am asked to explain the types of citizen encounters law enforcement quite frequently make.What is a Consensual Encounter?
It is obvious that a police officer does not need a well-founded suspicion of criminal activity to simply approach someone and start talking to them. It also makes sense that during this encounter that person is free to leave at anytime. That individual can either choose to voluntarily comply with the officer’s request or chose to ignore them. As a Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney, my advice is if you are approached by law enforcement and are questioned politely ask that officer directly if he has probable cause to make an arrest. If he says no, I would stop talking, wish the officer well, and leave immediately.What is an Investigatory Stop or a Terry Stop?
Florida has adopted the Stop and Frisk Law which says that in part that, whenever a law enforcement officer encounters any person under circumstances which reasonably indicate that that individual has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime the police officer may detain that person on a temporary basis to question that person on his or her involvement with the crime. However, that individual may not be detaining for longer than is reasonably necessary to determine that involvement. Also, the person may not be relocated and the questioning must take place in vicinity where the individual is detained.
To bring a motion on these grounds, the burden lies with your Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney to show that there was no warrant issued for the defendant’s seizure. Once established, the burden shifts to the prosecution to produce clear and convincing evidence that the warrantless search was legal.What is a Probable Cause Arrest?
If at any time after the person was detained for questioning via the Terry Stop method enough evidence is obtained that rises to the level of probable cause that person can be legally arrested and held on those charges. If a judge at first appearance determines that probable cause did not exist at the time of the arrest, that judge can order the release the individual. However, the release of the individual does not prevent the prosecution from the filing of formal charges in the future.
Probable cause exists when the police have, at the time of the arrest, knowledge of the facts and circumstances grounded in reasonably trustworthy information that is sufficient in and of itself to warrant a belief by a prudent person that an offense has been or is being committed by the person arrested. Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89, 91 (1964).
In making an arrest, law enforcement officers typically complete a Criminal Report Affidavit (CRA) or Notice to Appear (NTA) in non-arrest cases. The CRA details the name of the person being arrested, the charge, and the probable cause that existed to make the arrest. The NTA contains the same information, but rather than getting arrested, that individual is ordered to appear in court at a later date.
Some examples of other substantive motions that our Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney routinely file include: Motion to suppress statements taken in violation of Miranda Rights, Motion to suppress traffic stop for lack of probable cause, motion to suppress statements based upon an invalid waiver of rights, and motion to suppress statements based upon the accident report privilege.