Florida Criminal Process
In the State of Florida, there are many stages in the criminal process. From the initial stop through the entire process, you are entitled to certain rights. An experienced attorney can guide you through every step of the criminal process and ensure that your rights are protected. In the Tallahassee area, Luke Newman, P.A. has the experience you need to make a positive difference in your case.
The criminal process begins when you are stopped or arrested. When you are stopped for questioning by the police, it is important for you to understand you are not under arrest, and that you have certain rights. You have the right not to answer any questions the police officer asks you. The officer is also not allowed to search your vehicle without your consent, unless he has probable cause.
When you are placed under arrest, you are taken into police custody, and the police are obligated to inform you of your constitutional rights, which include the right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney. You should be given the opportunity to contact an attorney as soon as possible, without restrictions on the number of calls you need to make. You also have the right to be charged with a crime within a reasonable amount of time. Your attorney can ask a judge for your release if you have been held without being charged for an unreasonable period of time.
The next step after being charged is booking. This involves taking your fingerprints, entering your charges into the police records, and taking and inventorying your personal belongings. At that time, you may be released with an order to appear in court for your hearing, you may be required to post bond to secure your release, or you may need to remain in police custody until a court hearing. This process varies greatly depending upon the charges against you and any previous charges or convictions. At the court hearing you will be asked to enter a plea of either “guilty”, “not guilty”, or “no contest”. If you plead “guilty” or “no contest”, there will not be a trial. You will be either sentenced immediately, or at a future hearing. The judge will also decide if you are to remain in custody at this time, or be released until your sentencing.
If you plead “not guilty”, your case will proceed towards a trial. If you are found “not guilty” at the end of your trial, you will be released and the criminal process will be over for you. If you are found “guilty” you will then face sentencing. If there are grounds, you may be able to appeal a criminal conviction. There are many variables that can affect the outcome of a criminal case. A qualified criminal defense attorney is invaluable in assisting you through the criminal process and achieving a positive outcome.
If you live in the Tallahassee area and are facing criminal charges, or even if you are just being questioned, contact Luke Newman, P.A. today. Luke has the experience and knowledge you need to guide you successfully through the complex stages of the criminal process.