Frequently Asked Questions
Is it ok if I was never read my rights?
Before the law enforcement officer questions you, he or she should tell you that:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say may be used against you.
- You have a right to have a lawyer present while you are questioned.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.
These are your “Miranda” rights that were enumerated by the US Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona. If you are not given these warnings before the police interview you (contrary to popular belief, the police do not have to “Mirandize” you upon arrest), your lawyer can ask that any statements you made to the police not to be used against you in court. However, this does not necessarily mean that your case will be dismissed as the police may have gathered other evidence that is still admissible in court. Also, this does not apply if you volunteer information without being questioned by the police.
Can a law enforcement officer detain you without arresting you?
Based upon reasonable suspicion that you may be involved in criminal activity, a police officer may require you to identify yourself and explain your presence at a particular time without arresting you. Under Florida law the officer may not remove you from the immediate vicinity without making an arrest, unless you voluntarily accompany the officer to some other location.
If the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you are armed, he or she may conduct a limited pat-down of your outer garments for the purpose of detecting weapons. If this “frisk” results in reasonable belief on the part of the officer that you are carrying a weapon, the officer may remove the suspicious object for protection. The officers must return to you any unlawful object found unless they place you under arrest. Unless the officer places you under arrest, the frisk or search must be limited to suspected weapons.
What are the different types of state crimes?
Felony: Punishable by at least 1 year in Florida State prison.