Five Common Criminal Defense Questions Answered
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, whether they’re related to a DUI, assault and battery, or drug crime, you probably have a multitude of questions about what to do next. This is perfectly understandable. Below are answers to five common questions asked concerning the defense of an individual confronting criminal charges brought by the state or federal government.
Question No. 1 – If I am placed under arrest, what legal rights do I have?
You have the right to remain silent and the right to retain a criminal defense attorney. You have probably heard these two rights declared via a Miranda Warning:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?”
The officer who places you under arrest is legally obligated to provide you, orally and/or in writing, the above-described Miranda Warning prior to attempting to interview or interrogate you. They must also respect your decision to remain silent and/or hire a defense attorney.
Question No. 2 – How is a misdemeanor different from a felony?
The distinction between misdemeanor crimes and felony crimes can get confusing because some crimes may initially be charged as misdemeanors, but escalate to a felony (e.g., if you have a prior conviction on your record). Misdemeanors are typically considered to be less serious criminal offenses that feature penalties such as a monetary fine and time in jail. Examples of misdemeanor crimes include DUI and marijuana possession (depending on the amount you possess). Felonies are considered to be far more serious crimes and often feature punishments such as multi-year prison sentences. Examples of felony crimes include manslaughter, sex offense, and murder.
Question No. 3 – Can I refuse a request by police to take a Breathalyzer test?
Florida law requires you to take a Breathalyzer test if you are placed under arrest for a DUI. This is because Florida has an implied consent law stating that if a police officer has probable cause to believe you have been driving under the influence and places you under arrest, then you consent to undergoing a test of your breath, urine, and/or blood.
Question No. 4 – Do I really need a Winter Park criminal defense attorney?
Yes. You should not try to take on the State of Florida or the federal government alone. The government will have a seasoned attorney on their side working to convict you. This means you should level the playing field by having an experienced and skilled Winter Park criminal defense lawyer on your side.
Speak to a Winter Park Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Speak to the Winter Park criminal defense lawyers of Cotter Zelman, P.A. today. Our law firm has a reputation for skillfully and effectively handling complex criminal matters from arrest all the way to trial and appeal, if necessary. Contact our office today to schedule a meeting.