“Was I legally arrested? They arrested me for no reason! ”
The police can't stop him just because they want to. We are not in Cuba, nor in North Korea or Iran. The police must have some reasonable cause or suspicion to arrest or arrest a person. If it is discovered that you have been arrested for no reason and illegally, it is possible that the evidence obtained as a result of the illegal arrest may not be brought against you.
“But they didn't read my rights ...”
If they did not, and you made incriminating statements in custody, the prosecution may not be able to use those statements against you. Remember: You always have the right to remain silent. You also have the right to request that a lawyer be present during the interrogation, and the police cannot punish you for requesting one. However, the fact that he has not read his rights does not invalidate the arrest.
“Did I have to let them register or register my house or my car?”
In general, you have the right not to allow the police to search your home, your room, your car, or your person. Police records must follow certain rules, and if evidence is obtained as a result of an illegal search, they may not be able to use those evidence against you during the judicial process.
“What is in the police report is not what happened.”
The police will not testify in your favor. In reality, they will do everything possible to highlight “the bad.” Remember that the police report, or arrest affidavit, is simply the opinion of the cops of what happened. Now, alternative versions of what happened - and any improper conduct by the police - may be known during the affidavit process, when I interrogate the police under oath and on your behalf.
Preliminary Petitions or Motions
Well, not all cases end up being tried before a jury. In reality, your case can also be resolved through formal requests or requests to the court. These may include Petitions to Exclude Evidence, Petitions to Exclude Involuntary Statements, Petition for Speedy Trial, and Petition to Dismiss the Case, among others.
This is a formal agreement or settlement between the prosecution and the defense regarding a particular sanction or sentence.
Pre-Trial Deviation (PTD) or Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) Programs
Usually available for people without a criminal record; the prosecution will suspend the processing of your case and ultimately abandons charges if you sign in or Intervention Diversion Program and complete.
Is there a possibility to delete my record?
Anyone can obtain information about their recent arrest through a review of court records in their county.
That is the bad news: his arrest is in public records. The good news is that you don't have to stay that way, depending on how I close your case. You may be eligible to have your case sealed and canceled once it is resolved. When a case is sealed or annulled, the information regarding that case does not remain available to the public.
Who accuses me? The Role of the Prosecutor's Office in State Cases
In the United States, it is the prosecutors - on behalf of all the citizens of the state of Florida - who “accuse” him of a crime. That is, the prosecution can proceed against you without the support of the victim (or victims) of such a crime.
Felony and Minor Crimes Misdemeanors
In Miami-Dade County, the case numbers that begin with “F” are felonies (or “felonies”); those that begin with the letters "M" or "B" are minor offenses (or "misdemeanors").
The numbers that follow the “F” or the “M” represent the current year number, and the arrest number - in sequence chronological.
That is, case F1300117, for example, means that it is a “Felony,” or felony, which occurred in 2013, and that the defendant was the 117 person arrested in Miami-Dade County in 2013.
The difference between felony and misdemeanor, is the sanction or conviction that each designation implies.
Penalties for misdemeanors may include up to one year in a county jail (Miami-Dade County Jail, TGK, Metro-West or the Stockade). However, felony convictions involve state prison stays of one year or more.
First Sight or First Hearing and Bail Bonds
Within 24 hours of being arrested, the defendant is brought to the first hearing in front of a judge (who appears through a closed-circuit television between the court and the jail). The judge at first sight has 3 functions:
First, the judge determines whether the police had cause or probable cause to legally arrest the defendant.
Second, the judge determines whether the defendant can pay a lawyer. If the defendant does not have money, the judge assigns him a public defender.
On the third, the judge issues a bond and sets conditions to guarantee the presence of the accused in court. Usually, the arrested person has the right to a reasonable and immediate bail.
Here, in the United States, it is the prosecution and the government that have to prove before an impartial jury if you are guilty of what you are accused of.
In other words, you are innocent until proven otherwise. And an innocent man or woman must be given a reasonable bond immediately. The vast majority of crimes in Miami-Dade County have a specific bail amount. For example, felonies of the third degree felonies, correspond to a bail of $ 5,000.00. Typically, my clients' families hire a fiancist to "take out" the defendant. In general, the fiancista charges them 10% (“the premium”) of the total amount of the bond and may require other guarantees to ensure the presence of the accused in court and his participation in the judicial process.
There are two exceptions to immediate bonds:In case of an accusation and arrest for domestic violence, the Florida legislature requires the defendant to remain in jail for a period of 24 hours, (the famous “cooling-off period”) before being eligible for bail.
Unfortunately, in Florida there is a list of criminals that do NOT have bail for the defendant. They are considered severe crimes, or criminals whose sentence can include "life imprisonment" or, perhaps, death penalty.
These crimes include:
- Intentional Fire (“arson”)
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Illegal use of explosives
- Child Abuse
- Eelderly abuse
- Air piracy
- Lewd and lascivious assault or act on a child under 16, and sexual battery of a child under 18
- Burglary of a dwelling
- Home invasion
- Certain Drug Crimes
Even in these difficult cases, remember that in this country the defendant continues to enjoy a presumption of absolute innocence and has the right to request a special hearing in front of a judge - only for bail purposes. These audiences are they call "Arthur Hearings," according to a famous case: State v. Danny W. Arthur, 390 So.2d 717 (1980). In summary, it is possible to obtain a bond even in the most serious cases ... and nothing is lost in requesting such a hearing.
Be careful: If you are given a bond with conditions, remember that the most important condition is NOT TO BE ARRESTED AGAIN, FOR ANYTHING, while your original case is not resolved or pending.
If someone is arrested again for a new offense, committed during the probation period, the judge or judge is likely to impose a or a non-bail bond pending resolution of all charges. In Florida, bail bonds must be “reasonable,” that is, they must be based on what the accused person earns or the money the defendant's family has.
The deposit cannot be of an exorbitant amount. The courts have interpreted high bail, or bail out of reach of the defendant or his family, as a form of "preventive detention without conviction" - something not tolerated in this country. A bond outside the reach of the client or his family can always be reduced by means of a hearing in which other non-monetary alternatives are presented to the judge or the judge, which can serve to ensure the presence of the accused in court. (For example, the imposition of an electronic shackle on the accused pending trial).
What is an Arraignment?
An “arraignment” is simply the reading of formal charges to the accused. It is not a trial. There will be no witnesses, no police, no victims.
The document presented by the prosecution detailing the formal charges is an "Information." In cases punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment, the accusatory document is called an “Indictment,” and is issued by a grand jury composed of 21 Miami-Dade County citizens who have been selected by voter lists.
Generally, neither the defendant has to be in court for “arraignment,” as long as the criminal lawyer is present - or has registered a written notice in court stating that the lawyer has been formally hired.
In the “arraignment,” the defendant, through his criminal lawyer, informs the court of his “not guilty,” his desire to go to trial, and his intention to participate in the “discovery.”
What are the evidences that prosecutors have?
The “discovery” represents the “pruebas” that the prosecution will use in a trial.
Examples of “discovery” include:
- Witness List
- Arrest Affidavit
- Offense incident report
- Copies of Self-incriminating Declarations
- Results of DNA tests or fingerprints, etc.
Simply put, the “discovery” is all the materials that the prosecution has recompiled to prove the defendant's guilt.
It is important to review the "discovery," since there may be errors, or omissions, or (must be said) ... lies. It is our policy to send "discovery" to our clients, and review the materials very carefully.
Do I have the right to interview witnesses or the victim?
Of course. Part of the process of “discovery,” it is the opportunity that we have to interview all the persons designated as witnesses by the prosecution. Generally, affidavits of witnesses are made at the prosecutor's offices. A stenographer or court reporter is hired to keep a written record of the interviews.
What is “Sounding,” “ Report” y “Trial”?
In cases of felonies or felonies, a "sounding" is a kind of court hearing - which you have to attend - to see how your case is progressing and to see if the case is prepared for trial, or perhaps to a "settlement" or "plea bargain" (a formal agreement between prosecutors and the defendant to resolve the case without going to trial).
A “report” may be a designation of the judge (or judge) to find out if there is any resolution or settlement, or to see if a previous order from the court regarding restitution matters, psychological evaluation, or evidence delivery has been met. Finally, "trial," means judgment.
What happens if I go to trial?
In case of a felony, a trial almost always involves jail - if you lose. Therefore, it is important to think about it, and make an INFORMED AND OBJECTIVE decision, after reviewing everything that the prosecution has against you, after all the witnesses have been interviewed, after having met multiple times with me in our offices and, finally, after having formulated a strategy and a viable defense.
No one is going to keep time for you and the decision to go to trial is very personal. Remember that the lawyer cannot make a final decision for you and cannot guarantee a favorable outcome.
In the United States, defendants in criminal cases (except infractions) have the right to have their guilt or innocence judged by a jury of their peers. In Miami-Dade County, jurors are chosen by the lists of driver's licenses and "Florida ID Cards" or identification cards.
They are people who represent the ethnic hodgepodge that is Miami today. In general, defendants choose to have a jury trial because they want a jury of their peers to consider the evidence and decide whether they are guilty or not. But sometimes there may be circumstances in which the defense attorney recommends having a jury trial.
Any person accused of having committed a crime is presumed innocent until the prosecution verifies the opposite, either because they have proven guilty during the trial or because the defendant pleaded guilty before the trial. This means that the prosecutor has to convince the jury that the defendant is guilty, and the proof of guilt must be beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused has the right to remain silent, and this silence cannot be used as an argument against him.
Before the trial begins, the lawyers choose a jury. This jury selection process is called “voir dire”. During this process, attorneys on both sides ask potential jurors questions to make sure they are fair and impartial. Before the lawyers present evidence and witnesses, both parties have the right to make an opening speech in the case. For the defense, the “opening statement” or the opening speech is an opportunity to explain to the jurors the theory of the defense, that is, the version of what happened from the client's point of view.
During the trial, lawyers present evidence through witnesses, who relate what they saw or knew. After presenting all the evidence, the lawyers will give their closing arguments.
Finally, the jury will decide whether the accused is guilty or not guilty. The jury must determine that the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
What does what I get mean? Court Notifications
In criminal cases, notices of court appointments that designate you as the defendant, will arrive by mail. Notifications always designate a case number.