Arrests on the Rise: Were Your Rights Violated?
The FBI recently released its annual report on national crime statistics on September 25, 2017, covering the calendar year 2016. The numbers reveal some interesting trends:
- Murders went up 8.6 percent from 2015;
- Violent crime, including rape and aggravated assault, increased 4.1 percent; and,
- Law enforcement officers made 10.7 million arrests covering all types of crimes.
With these statistics in mind, you can be sure that Florida State Troopers, Sheriff’s Departments for Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, and local law enforcement will be cracking down on arrests. However, in their drive to apprehend offenders and lower crime rates, authorities may make mistakes – which could lead to big trouble if you’re on the other end of a mistake. If you’ve recently been arrested, go through this arrest checklist to learn more about your rights and contact an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer right away.
The arrest was lawful: An officer may only make an arrest where he or she:
- Observed criminal activity;
- Has probable cause to believe that you committed a crime; or,
- Has a properly issued warrant for your arrest.
Note that police must have some reasonable foundation to make the arrest, so a “hunch” is usually not enough to justify detaining you.
You were you could remain silent: On TV crime shows, you see an officer reading a number of rights to a person when making an arrest. These are “Miranda Rights,” based upon the landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona, where the US Supreme Court found that the Fifth Amendment protects individuals from self-incrimination. Police cannot force you to make statements in response to questioning, which is why your rights may have been violated if you were not allowed to remain silent.
Police informed you that statements could be used against you: Another Miranda Right requires officials to notify you that your words can be used as evidence against you in a criminal case.
Your request to have an attorney present was granted: When under arrest, you have the right to have an attorney present during questioning and leading up to trial. A lawyer has the legal background to tell you when you shouldn’t provide answers to questions because they may lead to self-incriminating statements.
You weren’t held for an unreasonable time: The US Constitution grants you the right to a speedy trial. There may be a violation of your civil liberties if you were held for an unreasonable amount of time without being formally charged.
Time is of the Essence: Talk to a Florida Criminal Attorney Right Away
If you are unsure or answered “No” to any of the items on this checklist, there may be a violation of your rights. It’s not too late to retain a criminal defense lawyer to represent your interests, but you should act quickly to ensure protection of your legal rights. For more information on the circumstances of your arrest, please contact the office Fort Lauderdale office of attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can schedule a consultation to review your case and begin developing a defense strategy.