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Criminal Law

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Why should I hire an attorney?

If you have been charged with a crime in Melbourne, Florida or anywhere in Brevard County, it is vital that you retain an experienced Melbourne criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense lawyer will be able to investigate the evidence and challenge the charges against you. A criminal defense lawyer is familiar with the criminal laws of Florida and how the Florida court system works. Often, a lawyer can help a client obtain smaller penalties, alternative sentencing, or either a reduction or dismissal of charges. Having an experienced Melbourne defense lawyer by your side at every step of the process will ensure that your legal rights are protected. Contact The Canina Law Firm for a FREE Case Evaluation.

When is a person “under arrest”?

A person is placed “under arrest” when law enforcement takes them into custody or deprives them of their freedom of movement in any way, so as to hold them to answer for a criminal offense. In Florida, police officers must identify themselves, must advise the person that they are under arrest, and explain why (unless it is impossible to do so at the time). Contrary to popular belief, one can still be placed under arrest even though nobody has said the words “under arrest”. If you believe that law enforcement unlawfully placed you under arrest, contact The Canina Law Firm for a FREE Case Evaluation.

Can an officer use force when making an arrest?

It depends. An arresting officer may use “all reasonable and necessary force to overcome resistance” in making an arrest. The legality of the arrest has nothing to do with the disposition of your case. In other words, as long as the officer has reasonable grounds for arresting you at the time he or she arrested you, you cannot claim later that the arrest was unlawful merely because you were found not guilty. If you believe that your rights were violated when you were arrested, or if you believe the officer may have used excessive force, be sure to remember exactly what the officer did and contact The Canina Law Firm immediately for a FREE Case Evaluation.

Can a police officer detain a person without arresting them?

Yes. To do this, police officers need a reasonable suspicion that you may be involved in criminal activity. While being detained, the officer may ask you to identify yourself and explain your presence in a certain area. Unless you voluntarily accompany the officer to some other location, the officer cannot remove you from the immediate area without making a formal arrest. If the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you are armed with a weapon, they may “frisk” you. A frisk is a limited, pat-down search of your outer clothing. If the officer believes that a suspicious object that you are carrying is a weapon, he or she can remove the object for protection. Keep in mind that the frisk or search must be limited to finding weapons only (not drugs, paraphernalia, or other contraband). (The officer may also ask you several questions. You have a constitutional right not to answer them unless the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you are involved in criminal activity.) At the conclusion of this temporary detention the officer must either arrest you or release you. If you believe that your rights have been violated by law enforcement, contact The Canina Law Firm immediately for a FREE Case Evaluation.

What happens when a person is arrested?

The officer will take you to the police station. You will be advised of the charges against you. Keep in mind that these charges may be changed later and stated in more detail by the prosecutor (or grand jury, if the crime is a capital felony). You may also be required to participate in a lineup, to prepare a handwriting sample, to speak phrases associated with the alleged crime, to put on certain clothing, or to give a hair sample. You are not required to re-enact the crime! Always ask to have your attorney present during these procedures. After you have been formally charged, you have an absolute right to counsel if you are asked to participate in a lineup. You also may be required to be fingerprinted, photographed, and searched for contraband. If you do not attain bail, you will go before a judge the next day for an initial appearance. If you have an attorney, he or she may seek a reduction of your bail bond. Having an experienced Melbourne criminal defense lawyer by your side at this time is vital. Contact The Canina Law Firm for a FREE Case Evaluation.

What are my rights after being arrested?

Contact The Canina Law Firm for a FREE Case Evaluation.

How can I be released from jail?

You may be released upon personal recognizance (your promise to appear in court when directed), or you may be released on bail, which involves posting either cash or a surety bond as security for your court appearance. Bail bonds are usually available from a licensed bail bondsman at a cost of 10% of the bail amount. If you are taken into custody, booked into the jail, and remain in jail, you must be brought before a magistrate within 24 hours of your arrest. At your first appearance, you may request the judge to decrease your bail in consideration of your ties in the community, financial resources, employment record, and many other factors. Shortly after you arrive at the jail, you are given an opportunity to contact an attorney. The attorney may arrange for your bond to be posted, may appear with you in court, and ask the court to decrease the bail if it is believed to be excessive. Contact The Canina Law Firm for a FREE Case Evaluation.

Brevard County Florida Criminal Defense Attorney

The Canina Law Firm proudly defends all residents of Brevard County and all cities and towns along Florida’s Space Coast including: Melbourne, Viera, Suntree, West Melbourne, Melbourne Village, Palm Shores, Palm Bay, Rockledge, Merritt Island, Titusville, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Satellite Beach, Grant, Valkaria, Micco, Barefoot Bay, Scottsmoor, Mims, and Sebastian, as well as neighboring Volusia County, Seminole County, Orange County, Osceola County, and Indian River County, FL.

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