Being arrested is a stressful and negative life experience. Don’t let it define your future. While nobody can turn back time, knowing what to do (and what not do) after an arrest can help avoid making a bad situation worse. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with some core principles.
While it’s true that being placed under arrest usually involves handcuffs and transportation to a police department or jail, there are some exceptions. For misdemeanors or ordinance violations, Florida law permits officer(s) to issue a written “promise to appear” instead of physically arresting a suspect. This is referred to as a “PTA.” Police cannot PTA someone for a felony or if they refuse to identify themselves, present a danger to others, have outstanding warrants or have a history of failing to appear in court. Common examples of crimes for which a PTA might be issued include petit theft and possession of cannabis.
PTAs happen with great frequency in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. While there are advantages (no jail, no bond), sometimes the police don’t do an adequate job explaining to a suspect that he or she has been arrested. That person may mistakenly think they are not charged with a crime and, as a result, miss a required court date. Missing a court date almost always results in a warrant. If you have an interaction with police and are asked to sign any paperwork, make sure you know whether a PTA was issued.
It is natural to want to explain your situation, but the best strategy if you have been arrested is to remain silent.
After arrest, many people feel as though the were not treated fairly, were falsely accused, or that the arrest affidavit has lies in it. This naturally causes people to want to explain themselves and what really happened to others—usually other police officers, a judge, or a prosecutor. The best criminal defense lawyers in Miami will tell you that you don’t owe an explanation to anybody, nor should you offer one. This type of discussion should stay between you and your criminal lawyer. More often than not, people who think they can “talk themselves out of this” are only left with regret when they realize it only made matters worse.
After arrest, you will be brought before a magistrate or judge for a first appearance
This should happened promptly, but depending on the circumstances, it can be over 24 hour. The purpose of a first appearance is to see whether, after a cursory review of the allegations and arrest form, there is probable cause to believe a crime was committed.
The judge will inform the person arrested of the charges against him or her and advise him or her of their rights. One of those rights is the right to remain silent—heed that advice! In Miami, everybody is appointed a public defender at first appearances; this is commonly referred to as a blanket appointment. The reason is, everyone is entitled to have an attorney present at this critical stage. Because most people have not yet had an opportunity to find and hire an attorney, one is provided for them.
These public defenders are usually grossly overworked because they have to look at everybody’s cases that morning. So, if you are the loved one of someone who was recently arrested, that’s why it’s usually good to act fast and hire an experienced bail criminal attorney who knows how to best argue for your loved one.
For the person arrested, often the most important aspect of a first appearance is to determine whether pre-trial release will be granted, and if so, what conditions should be imposed. Options include financial bond, house arrest, stay away order, no drive order and no drink order, among others.
These factors include the nature and circumstances of the allegations, the weight of the evidence against the accused, the accused’s family and community ties and his or her mental condition and likelihood of danger to the community if released. A prosecutor will also be present who can make arguments against pre-trial release.
Often, the judge has only the police paperwork and a list of the accused’s prior convictions to look at. Those things, and a prosecutor’s argument, it present a tall task for the public defender to overcome. That’s why you should always consider hiring a Miami bond lawyer.
Some people are released on their own recognizance, that is, released without any need to post money. More often than not, a judge will impose a bond — a security deposit with the court to ensure that you will appear after release — as a condition to be satisfied prior to release. But even so-called “standard bonds” can be expensive.
If you have an attorney represent you, they can fight for a reasonable bond to be set. Without a reasonable bond, you can be stuck in jail much longer than necessary. This can lead to tremendous pressure to accept a guilty plea just to resolve the case and get out of jail. That’s a horrible situation to be in. Even if an initial pre-trial release determination was made, your lawyer can move the court to reconsider and provide alternatives, like house arrest.
After arrest in Miami-Dade County or Broward County, it’s important to have perspective. Police only need probable cause to believe that you committed a crime to arrest you. That’s a low burden. But once an arrest is made, that almost always gets the wheels of a criminal prosecution started. In fact, a citation or arrest affidavit can sometimes be the charging document instead of an indictment or information. Because of that, every arrest is a big deal. Don’t make the mistake of taking it lightly. Even the best criminal defense attorneys cannot guarantee that charges won’t be filed, but the earlier they are involved in your defense the better likelihood they can make difference.
There’s no need to waste time after an arrest. You should find and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to properly handle your type of case. Redavid Law, PLLC handles all criminal matters, both state and federal, routinely. Jordan Redavid also makes himself available 24/7, 365.
In some cases, preserving evidence or compiling a list of defense witnesses requires acting quickly. For example, if, during your arrest, the police used excessive force against you, photographing injuries might allow a top criminal lawyer in Miami to negotiate a resolution to your case. Or, if there was a massive brawl, but you didn’t start it, having witnesses that can attest to that can be critical to a self-defense claim. Call now! 305-414-2009.