Criminal charges: state vs. federal
In many cases, a criminal offense may be chargeable under federal and state law. Drug offenses that are alleged to have occurred on federal government property or that involve interstate or international sales or distribution are usually federal court cases. People who are arrested during sting operations conducted by a federal agency working alone or in partnership with state and/or local law enforcement will also likely face federal charges. Furthermore, any offense that is in direct violation of a federal law may result in a person being charged and possibly convicted of a federal crime. Federal offenses often carry mandatory minimum sentences and are usually punished more severely than state offenses. People who face federal charges need the advantage of being able top count on the experience and training of a defense attorney who has successfully faced very experienced US government prosecutors in federal court.
What happens when you’re arrested?
In situations in which an encounter with a police officer leads to an arrest, the police must inform the individual that he or she is being placed under arrest. It is usually at this point that the police will inform the person of his or her Miranda rights, also known as that Miranda warnings. A term used to describe the Fifth Amendment right against self- incrimination, Mrianda rights are named after the landmark Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona. When the police Mirandize a person, they inform the individual of the following rights people who are accused of a crime have under the US Constitution:
- the right to refuse to answer questions and remain silent; anything the individual says may be used against him or her later in court.
- the right to be represented by an attorney and to have the attorney present at all times, including during in initial questioning.
- the right to have an attorney appointed if the individual is unable to afford one.
Other rights included in the Fifth Amendment are:
- the right to consult an attorney before deciding whether to talk to police before.
- the right to speak with an attorney even if the individual has already decided to speak with police.
- the right to speak to police exclusively through an attorney.
After reading the Miranda rights,the police then transport the individual to a police station, at which point the individual is informed of the charges that have been filed against him or her. The person may be requested to participate in a lineup, provide a writing sample, provide a strand of hair for DNA testing, or mimic other activities that are associated with the crime. The person may also be fingerprinted and photographed.
During an arrest, it is best to ask immediately to contact a lawyer and to avoid speaking to officers until your lawyer has arrived. Speaking to police in the presence of a skilled attorney can help people who are accused of a crime avoid incriminating themselves as a result of not being fully informed of their rights and other errors police sometimes make.
Once processed, or “booked,” the individual is allowed to make a phone call. Finally, the person is arraigned, a court appearance during which the accused party’s attorney may plead guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendre on his or her behalf and the judge sets the bail amount. After the arraignment, the accused may bond out, unless prohibited by the judge.
What is the bail process in Florida?
During the arraignment process, a judge decides whether an accused person may pay a bail amount to leave jail and await trial on the outside. Most defendants are allowed to bond out with exception of those who are accused of the mist heinous crimes and defendants who are likely to flee and never return to stand trial. While bail is set in most cases, the bail amount is also determined by the judge’s opinion of an amount that would make the defendant more likely to return for the trail date. If the defendant can afford to pay the full bail amount, he or she may do so and be released from jail. If he or she returns to court for his or her trial date, the money is refunded. If the person flees and doesn’t appear at trial, he or she has skipped bail and the money will not be returned. In most cases, people who are arrested cannot afford to easily party their bail out of pocket. These people may enlist the help of a bail bondsman, who will typically require a 10 percent payment from the defendant ijn exchanged for the bondsman paying the bail to the court. Simikar to cases in which bail is paid in full by the defendant, the money jus refunded to the bondsman after the defendant appears at trial and is forfeited if the person does not show up. Bail bondsmen often track their clients to minimize the likelihood of losing their money.
Private counsel vs. public defender
It may seem at first that there are several compelling reasons to choose to be represented by a public defender. First, a public defender’s services are provided free of charge. In addition, large case loads cause public defenders to become very experienced in multiple areas of law very quickly. These attorneys have competitive jobs and are usually reasonably qualified. However, most public defenders are very overworked and underpaid. The large case loads that give them a great deal of experience also lead them to recommend plea deals to their clients in cases that may otherwise have a more favorable outcome for the defendant at trial if handled by a lawyer who has more time and resources. Furthermore, defendants are not permitted to choose a specific public defender to represent them, but are instead assigned, which creates the potential for a defendant to be represented by an attorney with whom he or she is not comfortable.
Private attorneys have smaller case loads, which allows for more one-on-one time with clients. In addition to having an opportunity to build more of a relationship and rapport with clients, private lawyers are also able to allocate more time to investigating the case, researching, and working to construct bested defenses for their clients. While paying four an sttougney is inherently more expensive than being assigned an attorney free of change, clients are ultimately paying for access to resources public defender’s often simply do not have. Many private attorneys have relationships with expert witnesses and specialists who can testify to add strength to a defendant’s case. The level of trust, commitment, dedication to finding the best solution for the client, and access to resources makes it more than worthwhile to work with a private attorney. It is also much more within a private lawyer’s interest to consistently achieve the best result for their clients because maintaining a a solid reputation is the only way to remain in business. Lawyers are often willing to discuss financing to work with the client’s circumstances and make their services available when clients need them the most.
Have you just been arrested?
No one knows the fear and pressure of facing formal accusations of a crime without actually experiencing the situation for themselves. Many people immediately panic and go into hiding, or they become overly cooperative with law enforcement in an effort to clear their name. Instead of attempting to handle to situation on your own, contact a trustworthy, qualified West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer, and receive the sound, relevant, supportive counsel you need.
Upon making the first call to a lawyer, a member of the law firm staff will conduct a case evaluation free of charge. Next, the attorney will follow up to learn more about the client and his or her case and to help the client understand the implications of his or her case and discuss legal options. Making the first call is taking the first step toward protecting your rights and potentially securing a better outcome.