The best time to obtain an attorney is not always clear to someone involved in a criminal matter. When a police officer arrests an individual, they are required to inform them about their Miranda rights before an interrogation, which include reminding the person arrested that they have rights to an attorney. Because statements made to the police can potentially be used as evidence against defendants, and because of the complexity of the criminal justice system, it is important to have a lawyer at all stages of the process.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney as Soon as Possible
It would be ideal to have a lawyer as soon as one is arrested, but it is more likely that the earliest opportunity to obtain a lawyer will be after the booking process, which oftentimes includes identification process such as photos and fingerprinting. A preliminary hearing is arranged where the individual arrested comes before a judge. This would be an important time to have a criminal defense lawyer provide advice and counsel, including for the duration of the legal matter.
Under the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, preliminary hearings for misdemeanors should occur within 48 hours after arrest. Here, the judge attempts to determine if:
- There is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed
- The defendant is the person that committed the crime
- What bond (bail) amount should be set if any
When a felony has been committed, a second preliminary hearing may be arranged, where witnesses, and potentially even the defendant, may provide testimony on the criminal matter.
There are several ways that the representation of an attorney can protect your rights and ensure that your case is resolved as favorably as possible. These include the following:
- A lawyer will ensure that the police did not violate your rights while they were investigating the alleged crime
- Your attorney will move to suppress evidence if your rights were violated
- A lawyer will recognize and raise and legal defenses that may apply to your case
- If appropriate, your attorney will negotiate a favorable plea bargain agreement with the prosecutor handling your case
- If you case goes to trial, your lawyer will present your case to the court and maximize your chances of obtaining an acquittal
Call a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Ensure that Your Rights Are Protected
The criminal justice system is complex and it is important to have competently trained criminal lawyers to assist at all levels of a legal matter: from arrest and preliminary hearing to the conclusion of your case. Schedule a free evaluation with a St. Petersburg Criminal Lawyer to learn more about how to resolve your legal matter. Call the Khonsari Law Group today at 727-269-5300 or send us an email through our online contact form.