Arrested in Florida? What You Need to Know
Florida criminal law is extremely complex. If you find yourself facing a criminal charge, it is normal to feel both confused and intimidated. You need to take swift action. A criminal conviction could come with severe penalties, and it could stay on your record for the rest of your life. If you, or a loved one, has been arrested in Tampa Bay, please contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
What Happens After an Arrest?
In the vast majority of cases, an arrested person will be placed in handcuffs and taken to the local precinct. The arresting officers will need to file an official report on the arrest. Their report will include all relevant personal identifying information of the accused, a description of the events that led to the arrest, and information regarding any related evidence. Eventually, a prosecutor will review the officer reports and determine whether or not criminal charges should be filed. If charges are filed, the accused will soon face an arraignment. During this part of the process, the charges will be read to the court, and the accused will have the opportunity to enter a plea. In general, it is important to never plead guilty to any criminal charges without the approval of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
A qualified criminal defense lawyer will aggressively protect your interests at every stage of your case. Ultimately, your lawyer’s efforts will fit into three broad categories:
- Protecting your rights: You have many important legal rights that must always be protected. Florida police officers and prosecutors must always follow certain guidelines when making an arrest, collecting evidence and attempting to prosecute your case. If your rights were violated during any part of the process, your lawyer will take action. For example, it is illegal for police to conduct a search without probable cause. If police searched you without probable cause, and evidence was discovered as a result, your lawyer can file a motion to suppress. This could get that specific evidence removed from your case, and your charges might even be dismissed.
- Preventing conviction: In Florida, the prosecution cannot convict you of a crime unless they can prove your guilt ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. This is a substantial burden for the state to meet. All too often, Tampa area prosecutors push forward cases without adequate supporting evidence. If there is not enough evidence to support a conviction in your case, you can fight the charges.
- Reducing punishment: Finally, it is important to remember that everyone makes mistakes. In some cases, the best thing to do is focus on reducing the penalties. Your lawyer will focus on keeping you out of jail and helping you work with the prosecutor to find any alternative forms of punishment.
Contact Our Office Today
The experienced criminal defense lawyers at the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group will always work aggressively to protect your rights and your freedom. If you or a loved one has been arrested in Florida, please contact our office today at (813) 242-4404 to schedule a free legal consultation. Our firm is based in Tampa Bay, but we proudly serve clients throughout the area, including in Polk County and Pasco County.