When a new client comes into our office, they are often afraid of what might happen to them as a result of his or her arrest. As a former prosecutor and board-certified criminal defense attorney, our job is to help them achieve the best outcome possible depending upon the circumstances.
If our client is innocent or the Prosecutor doesn’t have the evidence to prove their case, we will aggressively represent him and or her in court to get the charges dropped or dismissed. Under circumstances where someone may be guilty of the charge, there are three questions we always ask at our initial meeting in order to get the best result possible for our clients.
Am I looking at jail time?
With any criminal charges, there is always the possibility of jail time. However, we often have the opportunity to work out an alternative sentence for my clients that so they will not have to serve time in jail. These alternatives sentences include:
- Diversion Programs where the charges may be dropped
- Drug or Alcohol Treatment when drug/alcohol abuse contributed to the criminal behavior
- Mental Health Treatment when mental health issues contributed to the criminal behavior
As both a former prosecutor and board certified criminal trial attorney, we have successfully advocated for alternative sentences where clients had to serve minimal to no jail time.
The Officer didn’t read me my Miranda rights. Do they have to?
The short answer to this question is no, the arresting officer does not have to read you your Miranda rights. Failure to do this does not mean the case will be dismissed.
However, the constitution guarantees you several rights as detailed in the Miranda Warning:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.”
In a situation where you were not read the Miranda Warning and you make an incriminating statement, those statements would not be admissible in court.
As both a former prosecutor and board certified criminal trial attorney, we will evaluate the statements you made to police to see if your Miranda Rights were violated. If your Miranda Rights were violated, we will file and argue a motion before a Judge to suppress any and all statements made to the police.
Do I have to go to court?
After an arrest, you often receive notice of a court date. This can be a letter from the Clerk of Court and or a notice from your bail bondsman.
When you have hired a criminal defense attorney, he or she can file a “Notice of Appearance” with the Clerk of Court and the State Attorney’s Office (prosecutors) or the US State Attorney’s Office. Once this document is filed we can waive your appearance and attend your court date without you. This allows our clients not to have to miss work, find child care, or otherwise disrupt their lives due to a mandatory court hearing appearance.
While there are exceptions to this situation, the one we describe here is the most common scenario.
When you face criminal charges, your best chance of achieving a successful outcome is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the law and your options. We recommend not waiting until a court date is set before hiring a criminal attorney. Contact our Tampa, FL area law firm for a free case review.