What To Do If You Are Arrested

What To Do During a Police Encounter

Broward and Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been arrested in Broward of Palm Beach Counties, regardless of whether you are arrested for a misdemeanor or a felony, it is important that you understand how criminal prosecutions operate in Broward and Palm Beach counties.  The more knowledgeable you are about your charges and about criminal procedure, the better your chances of not making a critical mistake before you are able to speak with a criminal defense attorney.  Knowing things like what information you are required to provide to the police and what you are not as well as when you should ask for an attorney are key in minimizing the damage caused by an arrest. 

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CAUTION:  The police are looking for evidence to use against you when they engage you in conversation and when they perform any kind of a search.  It is not the job of the police to be fair and truthful with you.  The police can use deception to gather evidence.  Promises made by the police are usually forgotten or deemed insignificant by the time that a case reaches court.

If You Are Questioned by the Police

You have the right to remain silent.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TALK TO THE POLICE.  Anything that you say to the police will be used against you later and if you lie to them, you could be charged with obstruction.  Whether the police can legally question you or not depends upon your legal detention status.  If it is clear that a reasonable person would feel free to leave under the circumstances, then the police can ask you questions without first reading you your Miranda rights.  If you are being detained or arrested, then the police must advise you of your right to remain silent and your right to a lawyer before engaging in any interrogation.  If you request an attorney, all questioning must cease until you can consult with an attorney who is entitled to be present during any questioning.  If the police continue to question you after you have requested an attorney, then any statements which follow can be kept out of court by your attorney. 

If you are in doubt of your legal status at the time you are being questioned, then ask the police officer if you are free to leave. Regardless, you should not answer any questions from the police about a crime without first speaking with a criminal defense attorney.  Antonio D. Quinn, Esq. remains available to his clients at all times should they be questioned by the police or other law enforcement.

If the Police Ask To Search You or Your Vehicle

You generally have the right to refuse to consent to a search.  If you give the police consent to search your property or your person, you will likely give up the right to challenge the legality of the search later in court.  Law enforcement can search you or your vehicle if they have a valid search warrant or if they have probable cause of evidence of a crime.  In the absence of a warrant signed by a judge or probable cause for the search (eg. if the officer can smell marijuana) then they will ask for your consent to search your vehicle or other property.  Many arrests occur because a person gave consent to a search knowing that the search is going to turn up something illegal but they were not aware that they could refuse.  No one should have a better idea of what is on your person or in your vehicle than you, but it is still seldom going to be of any benefit to have police officers search your person, vehicle or property.  Whether you are in custody or not the Constitution guarantees you the right to refuse a search which is not conducted pursuant to a warrant.  If possible contact an attorney if the police are seeking to search your vehicle or other property.

Beware Spontaneous Utterances

If you are in police custody be very careful about what you say to the police or in front of the police.  A simple seemingly insignificant statement can in many cases provide the police with evidence to charge you with a crime. Whether you have been arrested or not all spontaneous utterances are admissible in Florida court. 

Ask to speak with an attorney as soon as possible

Whether you have already retained a criminal defense attorney or not asking to speak with an attorney prevents the police from questioning you further.  If you are the target of a criminal investigation or if the police are seeking to question you about a crime Contact Quinn Law, P.A. immediately at (954) 463-0440.

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