What To Do If You Are Arrested In Florida

March 4, 2014

By: DeLand Attorney Richard “Jake” Jackson

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ARRESTED IN FLORIDA

If you are arrested for a crime in Florida, it is important for you to understand several things about how the criminal justice system works. In some cases the arresting agency will issue a Notice To Appear in court and release you, but in most cases you will be booked into jail.

It is common for the arresting officer to take you to a holding cell or an interrogation room before you are transported to the County Jail. In Volusia County, the Sheriff’s Deputy may take you to a Sheriff’s sub-station in Deltona, De Bary, DeLand, Pierson, Daytona Beach or New Smyrna Beach before taking you to Jail. Or a Police Officer may take you to his Police Department (for example, in DeLand, Orange City, Ormond Beach, or Port Orange) before delivering you to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.

Anything you do or say at the time of your arrest may be used against you at your trial or sentencing. DO NOT PHYSICALLY RESIST THE OFFICERS WHO ARE ARRESTING YOU. If you resist, you may be charged with additional crimes (such as resisting arrest, assault upon a law enforcement officer, or attempted escape). An arrest can be a violent event, and if you resist you are more likely to suffer injury.
You have important rights that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Florida Constitution, including your Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, your Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, and your Sixth Amendment right to an attorney. It is very important that you do not waive your rights.

DO NOT GIVE PERMISSION TO CONDUCT ANY SEARCH WITHOUT A WARRANT. You have a right under the Fourth Amendment to not be subject to unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police conduct an illegal search, we can file a Motion To Suppress any evidence illegally obtained from that search. However, if you voluntarily agree to allow the police to conduct a search, you are waiving your Fourth Amendment rights and we may not be able to suppress that evidence. When you are arrested, the police can search you for officer safety and to inventory any property in your immediate possession which they will hold until you are released. Often they will ask you to consent to additional searches (for example, of your home, your business, your vehicles, the contents of your phone or computer, etc.) DO NOT GIVE CONSENT FOR ANY SEARCHES. If they ask for your consent, it usually means that they do not have sufficient grounds to conduct the search without your consent.

DO NOT MAKE ANY STATEMENT TO THE POLICE. You have a right to remain silent, and you have a right to have an attorney present during any questioning. DO NOT WAIVE THESE RIGHTS WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING WITH AN ATTORNEY. If the police begin to question you while you are in custody, tell them that you do not want to make any statement until you talk to an attorney. They must immediately stop all questioning because you have invoked your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and your Sixth Amendment right to an attorney. If the police continue to question you after you have requested an attorney or after you have clearly stated that you are not willing to answer any questions, we can file a Motion To Suppress your statements and any other evidence illegally obtained as a result of that improper interrogation.

DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE, OTHER THAN YOUR ATTORNEY, ABOUT YOUR CASE. This includes friends, relatives, cell-mates, guards, and especially law enforcement officers. Be aware that your telephone calls from the jail may be monitored and recorded, and recordings of your conversations may be forwarded to police or prosecutors. Also, letters that you send or receive while you are in jail may be opened and read by jail officials, and copies may be provided to prosecutors or law enforcement investigators.

IF YOU CHOOSE TO TALK TO THE POLICE, YOU SHOULD HAVE AN ATTORNEY WITH YOU. DO NOT LIE TO THE POLICE. It is better not to make any statement to the police than to make a false statement. DO NOT MAKE MORE THAN ONE STATEMENT TO THE POLICE. They may ask you to answer the same or similar questions on different occasions. If you describe some details in one statement that you leave out of another statement, or if you remember some details differently during different interviews, you can expect that they will try to make it sound like you were deliberately lying.Even if you do not admit any wrongdoing, the police may refer to your statement as a “confession” and include in their report innocent facts that you “admitted” such as that you were “at the scene” or that you “knew the victim.” If they have arrested you, they already believe that you are guilty, and they are trying to get additional evidence against you. It is almost always better not to make any statement to law enforcement.

BOOKING: When you are booked into jail, you will be fingerprinted and photographed. Your booking photo “mug shot” is public record, and it will be posted on the website maintained by the jail or sheriff’s office. Even if the charges are dismissed, your mug shot will remain online unless your record is sealed or expunged. After your case is concluded, if you are eligible to have your record sealed or expunged, we can petition to have your record sealed or expunged and to have your photo removed.

BOND AND FIRST APPEARANCE: In most cases you can be released before trial by posting bond in an amount that was determined upon your arrest. You can either post a cash bond in the full amount that was set (which will be refunded to you at the conclusion of your case if you have attended all of your required court appearances), or you can hire a bondsman who will charge a fee to post the bond for you. If have not bonded out, you will be brought before a Judge for First Appearance within 24 hours after your arrest. At the First Appearance hearing you will be advised of your rights and the charges against you; the Judge will determine if there is sufficient probable cause to hold you on those charges; and the Judge may amend the amount set for your bond, release you on your own recognizance (R.O.R.), and/or impose further restrictions on you as a condition of your release. In some cases we are able to reach a favorable resolution of the entire case at First Appearance, either by a dismissal of the charges or by a negotiated plea deal. However, in most cases it is advantageous to wait until the case is thoroughly investigated and all defenses and constitutional issues are examined before agreeing to any plea deal.

If you or your loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You can contact Attorney Richard S. Jackson at (386) 738-1111 to schedule a consultation in his DeLand office or at a jail or correctional facility.

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