What to Do After Getting Arrested in Florida
No one wakes up in the morning and contemplates the possibility of arrest. While it can be difficult to consider, it’s imperative to understand your rights as a U.S. citizen in the event that you or a loved one is detained in Florida, as this can mean the difference between walking away freely and going to jail.
From getting pulled over for a DUI to finding police on your doorstep after a neighbor calls in a domestic violence report, there are various ways that arrest can catch us off-guard. Such occurrences can seem to defy logic, especially when good people find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
While it can be terrifying to be charged with a crime, it’s imperative to stay calm and focus on the facts. You can take comfort in knowing that the “innocent until proven guilty” doctrine is a fundamental principle of the U.S. justice system, meaning that your rights are protected until the prosecution can prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Keep reading to learn more about what steps to take after being detained in Florida.
Detained in Florida? 8 Steps to Take After Arrest
Emotions tend to run high during arrests. This is especially true factors like drugs, alcohol, or hostile law enforcement are involved. Even so, it’s important to keep your composure at all costs if you’re being arrested or detained. Consider these X steps to take after being arrested in Florida:
1. Invoke your Miranda rights.
While most of us have heard of the infamous Miranda rights recited in films or television, exercising them in real life is often a different story. Invoking your right to remain silent is an integral step to securing your freedom during and after an arrest.
“Miranda rights” refer to the rights that U.S. citizens possess when taken into custody by law enforcement officers. These rights are derived from the landmark 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona, and are intended to protect individuals from self-incrimination while in custody or under interrogation.
When are police required to read my Miranda rights?
Law enforcement officers are required by law to read Miranda rights ("Mirandize") to individuals when two conditions are met:
- Custody – Police are required to Mirandize individuals when taking them into custody, meaning that 1) the person's freedom is restrained, and 2) the person has reasonable cause to believe that they are not free to leave.
- Interrogation – Reading Miranda rights are also required of police when questioning or interrogating suspects who are suspected of criminal activity.
The core elements of Miranda rights include:
- The right to remain silent – Defendants have the right to remain silent, meaning that they are not obligated to answer any questions posed by law enforcement if they don’t wish to do so.
- The right to an attorney – Defendants reserve the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If they can’t afford an attorney, the state will appoint one to them free of charge. This right ensures that all individuals have access to legal defense and counsel when facing the criminal consequences of custodial interrogation.
- The right to stop questioning at any time – Defendants can invoke their right to stop answering questions at any time during the interrogation. If they wish to exercise this right, they should clearly and unequivocally state their desire to remain silent and have an attorney present.
- The warning of consequences – Defendants must be informed that by waiving their right to remain silent and answer questions, anything they say can be used against them in court. This ensures that the person is aware of the potential consequences of self-incrimination.
2. Secure legal representation before agreeing to questioning.
The most important step after arrest is to request legal representation. In Florida, you have the right to an attorney, regardless of your financial situation. This means that if you can’t afford a lawyer, the court will appoint a public defender to represent you. Remember, it’s crucial to have access to sound counsel throughout the entire criminal process, regardless of the severity of the charges against you, if you wish to avoid the life-changing penalties of a conviction.
3. Stay as calm and cooperative as possible.
Although this is often easier said than done, it’s essential to remain calm and cooperative with law enforcement officers during an arrest. Resisting or acting aggressively can exacerbate the situation and potentially lead to additional charges. Comply with any lawful instructions given to you, but be mindful of exercising your rights when necessary.
4. Document the incident and retain any evidence that may prove useful.
After an arrest, try to document as much information about the incident as possible. This may include writing down the names and badge numbers of the arresting officers, witnesses, and any relevant details regarding the circumstances leading to your arrest, as this information can be crucial to your defense later on.
5. Avoid discussing the case.
While getting arrested can be a distressing experience for anyone, it’s important to refrain from discussing it with anyone, including friends and family, unless absolutely necessary. Keeping the details to yourself will help protect you from potential self-incrimination. The only exception to this fundamental rule is discussing the arrest with your attorney, as legal clients benefit from the confidentiality of attorney-client privilege.
6. Understand the charges against you.
Once you have legal representation, your lawyer can help you understand the charges brought against you. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the allegations, penalties, and legal strategies available to build your defense. Your attorney can thoroughly examine the evidence and assess the unique circumstances of your case to advise you on the best course of action to take.
7. Exercise your right to bail.
If you’re eligible for bail, your attorney can help you navigate the process and work toward securing your release. Getting out on bail allows you to continue living freely while awaiting trial, so long as you comply with any conditions set by the court. Your lawyer can also advocate for a reasonable bail amount based on the circumstances of your case.
8. Thoroughly prepare for upcoming legal proceedings.
After an arrest, it’s crucial to collaborate closely with a trusted lawyer to prepare for your upcoming case in criminal court. Your attorney can help fortify your case with relevant evidence and documentation to build you the strongest defense possible, negotiate to get the charges against you dropped or dismissed, and guide your legal steps wisely to avoid missteps that could jeopardize the outcome of your case.
Aggressively Defending the Accused in Miami, FL
Since 2014, our fierce criminal defense lawyers have defended the rights of the accused in Miami and beyond. Our genuine care, honesty, and commitment to each client we serve sets us apart from other firms in Miami-Dade County, empowering us to deliver the personalized legal solutions that you rightfully deserve in your time of need.
Our determined legal advocates have extensive experience representing Floridians in a variety of criminal cases, from marijuana offenses to stalking charges. Call (305) 570-4802 today to learn how we can help restore your freedom and safeguard your hard-earned reputation.
It’s crucial to seek representation as soon as possible after being charged with a crime. Contact us online to consult with a trusted Miami defense lawyer.