Being charged with a crime, or even questioned about one, can be a scary and stressful experience. Many people don’t know what they should do next, especially if this is their first encounter with the system. In most situations, the sooner you contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney, the better. Even if you have not yet been charged with a crime, if you’ve been contacted by the police and feel they might consider you a suspect in their investigation, it’s critical to consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer before speaking with them. The attorneys at Apfelbaum Law may be able to assist you with your criminal matter.
An overworked public defender may not have time to properly meet with you to discuss your case. They also may not have the time to go over all the details of your case, and might miss something important. Worse, by the time your first hearing happens, you as the defendant may have already been subject to an illegal interrogation or part of an overly suggestive lineup. Many people are not aware of all their rights and what they mean, even after an officer runs through them quickly during the arrest. Aside from that, people are often distracted during an arrest, which may be an upsetting situation.
These things can worsen your situation not only at your hearing but in an actual trial, as well—even if you’ve obtained an experienced criminal defense attorney by that time. By insisting on having an attorney present and refusing to speak to the authorities without one, you can reduce the risk that police may take advantage of the average person’s naivete about the criminal justice process.
If you are arrested for any reason, the best thing to do is exercise your constitutional rights to remain silent, and to have an attorney present during questioning. Once you request an attorney, the police cannot question you until you can consult a lawyer.
Finding an experienced Florida criminal attorney early is the next best step to take. Apfelbaum Law defends individuals on a variety of criminal charges, including:
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
- Probation / Community Control Violations
- Juvenile Delinquencies
- Drug Charges – misdemeanor / felony
- Criminal trial
These may include both felonies and misdemeanors in the following categories:
- Weapons Offenses (licensed or concealed weapons charges, felon in possession of a weapon, etc.)
- Sex crimes (prostitution, pimping or pandering, sexual battery, sexual assault)
- Violent crimes (robbery, murder, manslaughter)
- Domestic violence (false imprisonment, assault, battery, sexual assault or battery, kidnapping, stalking)
- RICO violations (organized crime)
- Property crimes (theft, robbery, etc.)
- Narcotics crimes (possession, sale, trafficking)
- DUI and other driving offenses
Your attorney will also be able to help with the issues that follow an arrest. Depending on the crime you have been charged with, and the results of your being questioned, you may be released if no charges are being filed. However, if the prosecutor decides to file charges, you, as the defendant, will need to be in court for your arraignment. At this point, you will file an appeal— in most cases, defendants plead not guilty.
This is also where bail decisions happen. In some cases, the defendant is released from custody and expected to return for a trial. To ensure that you do so, the court may require you to post bail or to secure a bond. Occasionally, if the crimes you are charged with are very serious, the court may also ask you to surrender your passport or wear an ankle monitor. In less serious situations—typically misdemeanor charges—the defendant may simply be released on their own recognizance. Sometimes, the defendant is ordered to stay in jail pending the trial.
Usually, the judge makes a decision about bail based on a number of factors, including whether the defendant is a flight risk or if they might be a danger to society. If you have significant wealth, assets, or connections, or have failed to appear in court for previous charges, you may be more likely to be considered a flight risk.
This is another situation where having an experienced criminal law attorney on your side is helpful. Your attorney will be able to formulate a strong argument for your release, and may be able to answer any concerns the judge may have. They may be able to suggest alternatives to jail if the judge is strongly opposed to your release, such as house arrest or court monitoring.
If you need assistance with your criminal charges, or have questions about any potential legal matter, please contact Apfelbaum Law for a consultation. We have offices in Port St. Lucie and Stuart, but provide legal services throughout the Treasure Coast and Florida.