Criminal Defense

Criminal Defense

The concept of due process, i.e. “innocent until proven guilty,” can be found in the 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution. These amendments provide some of the most important protections in the Constitution for those accused of crimes—safeguards put in place by our founding fathers to keep a tyrannical government at bay.

Criminal defense applies to all Misdemeanors and Felony charges, Domestic Violence, Drug Trafficking Offenses, Bail reductions, RICO, Victim Advocacy, Warrants, PreTrial Intervention Programs, Pre filing Investigations, New Charges, Violations of Probation, bench trials, jury trials, plea bargains and negotiations with the Office of the State Attorney.

Whether you have a past criminal record or are a first-time offender, it is important to know your rights and partner with an attorney who is prepared to offer a persuasive defense on your behalf.

What Happens After Being Arrested?

Getting arrested, especially if it is your first alleged offense, is a frightening experience. Adding to the confusion and frustration of it all, is the fact that people generally have no idea what happens following an arrest. Following is an overview of the legal steps and your rights following an arrest to help you become more familiar and certain about what is happening.

Police custody. Police custody is defined as the deprivation of a person’s freedom to leave. When stopped by the police, a person has the right to ask the police why they have been stopped.

Booking. Once a person is taken into custody, the police will bring them to the police station for booking. This is the process of putting you in jail. Personal items are inventories and taken. Fingerprints and photos are gotten and individuals are generally allowed a phone call.

Waiting time. After booking, individuals generally wait in a jail cell for up to 24 hours. If you hire an attorney during this time, they can talk to you and explain what is happening.

Posting bail. A bail bond is a sum of money required to be released from jail. When you get arrested, there is a presumption of pretrial releases for all cases—unless the crime is a punishable-by-life offense and evidence of guilt is great, the presumption is that you will get bail. If the bail is too high or not offered, the individual will be held in custody until the first court appearance, referred to as “arraignment.”

Arraignment. This is the first court hearing following the arrest. In this hearing, the judge informs the accused of their right to an attorney, determines the conditions of bail, asks for a pleading to the charges brought. If an individual pleads “guilty,” the court takes the next steps towards sentencing. In the case of a “not guilty” pleading, the accused has the opportunity to prepare a defense for a later trial date.

Your criminal defense attorney will work with you to develop a strategic argument that attempts to challenge the validity and sufficiency of the prosecution’s evidence. The prosecution, often referred to as the state, the people, or the United States for federal crimes, is the party trying to prove the criminal charges against you.

You Have Rights

One of the most important rights of an individual accused of a crime is the right to an attorney who will represent you in trial and work side by side with you during the initial investigation, questioning and any plea-bargaining negotiations.

During an interrogation or arrest, you also have the right to remain silent. You don’t need to say anything to a police officer without a lawyer present, although in some instances you may be required to show your ID.

These rights are called your Miranda rights. Police officers are required to inform individuals in their custody of these rights before interrogating them. They also need to make is clear that anything said by the accused may later be used against them in court.

Contact the Donovan Melendez Law Office in Tampa Bay for Help

In representing clients in criminal defense cases, Mr. Melendez negotiates with the Office of the State Attorney and strives to reach the most efficient way to solve the problems facing the accused. For more information about how we can help in a criminal law case, reach out to us at 813-280-0181.

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