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Booked For Questioning or Being Under Arrest: Know Your Legal Rights

Being under arrest can be a frightening experience, but it’s not an experience all people identify immediately. An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty usually in relation to the purported investigation or prevention of crime and presenting (the arrestee) to a procedure as part of the criminal justice system.

Arrest, when used in its ordinary and natural sense, means the apprehension of a person or the deprivation of a person’s liberty. The question whether the person is under arrest or not depends not on the legality of the arrest, but on whether the person has been deprived of personal liberty of movement. When used in the legal sense in the procedure connected with criminal offenses, an arrest consists in the taking into custody of another person under authority empowered by law, to be held or detained to answer a criminal charge or to prevent the commission of a criminal or further offense. The essential elements to constitute an arrest in the above sense are that there must be an intent to arrest under the authority, accompanied by a seizure or detention of the person in the manner known to law, which is so understood by the person arrested.

One way to know you are being arrested is when a representative of the law enforcement agency states it. On most occasions people are brought in for questioning, asked to accompany a law enforcement representative, or respond to a request to go to a police station and that can be confusing. The general thinking is that people are not under arrest at this particular stage and they have the power to leave at any point or not comply with police requests.

It’s possible these requests for accompaniment or cooperation may be a little more threatening. In fact, some people are asked for cooperation or are told a warrant will be obtained to get it. Depending on the circumstances, such as when people think a warrant for their arrest can’t be obtained, they are not obliged to head to a police station. Of course, they may guess wrong and an officer could quickly return with the needed warrant.

Another part of being under arrest is that people are usually read a list of rights. In the US these are called the Miranda Rights, and they usually must be read for an arrest to be legal. One thing these rights state is that any conversation had can be used against the person arrested. Lawyers will almost always advise that people remember their right to be quiet under arrest. A request for a lawyer should end all conversation with the police.

An additional thing most people will notice about being under arrest is that they are not free to leave. This might change if the arrest is lifted, but, for now, they are detained with force. They could be placed in rooms to be questioned, regional jail cells or elsewhere. There are few freedoms while in this state, and a person may not even be able to use the bathroom without permission. Countries differ on the basic rights that must be afforded to a person who is arrested, but it could be hours prior to obtaining things like a drink of water or something to eat. This is a strong argument for getting legal advice immediately, since these rights may be awarded sooner, as could release. Source

You may be stopped for questioning by the police. A stop is not the same as an arrest. A stop occurs when a police officer detains you to ask you questions, but does not move you to a different location. A police officer should not stop you unless he has a reasonable belief that you have violated the law. Even though you are not under arrest at this point, you do not have to answer any questions that the police officer asks you. The police may also ask to search you or your vehicle. The police officer cannot search your car without your consent unless he has “probable cause”. “Probable cause” is a legal determination that you won’t be able to challenge until later. Because of this, you may want to tell the police officer that you do not consent to a search of your vehicle. The police officer may perform a search anyway, but if it is later determined that there was not probable cause, at least you won’t have consented to the search. The police officer could decide at this point that there is no reason to arrest you and your involvement in the criminal process could end here.

Each jurisdiction has different rules regarding when an individual can be placed under arrest. In general, an officer can arrest you if he has probable cause to believe that you committed a felony, or if he sees you commit a misdemeanor, or if there is a warrant for your arrest. When you are arrested you will be taken into police custody. Source

Overview of Arrest In Florida
West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine.

Each and every county in Florida; Palm Beach, Broward, Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Dade, has a chief prosecutor titled State Attorney. Each State Attorney has many Assistants working under him. The State Attorney Offices are in charge of prosecuting all criminal offenses that occur within their prospective counties. The State Attorney is within the Executive Branch of Government.

The State Attorney may charge a criminal defendant with an accusation of a crime in one of two ways:

(i) filing and information or

(ii) impaneling a grand jury to return a true bill.

It is important to remember that Law Enforcement Officials cannot charge someone with a crime; they only have the ability to arrest. Only the State Attorney or his Assistants may charge someone with a criminal case.

In Florida, however, a Law Enforcement Officer such as: a Deputy Sheriff, Florida Highway Patrol and local law enforcement officers-Boca Raton Police Department, Lantana Police Department, North Palm Beach Police Department, Stuart Police Department, Hollywood Police Department and so on, may arrest and individual. In Florida, an arrest may actually occur in two distinct ways: (i) the defendant is placed in handcuffs and booked or (ii) the defendant is given a Notice to Appear.

Since 1992, the likelihood of an arrest leading to a conviction has generally risen. Although some defendants think that they can “beat the system” on their own, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is the best way to prevent becoming another statistic.

If you are accused of a crime, your freedom, your family, your reputation, your immigration status, and your job may be at stake. The outcome you receive in the criminal justice system depends upon the experience and knowledge of the defense attorney you choose to represent you.

When you retain the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., you do not simply retain a nationally recognized criminal defense lawyer. You retain a criminal defense team who has worked together for years and successfully represented clients in virtually every type of criminal case, including:

  • Animal cruelty, such as dog fighting, cock fighting and abandonment
  • Drug crimes, such as drug trafficking and Oxycodone offenses
  • Fraud, such as mortgage fraud, insider trading and mail fraud
  • Traffic offenses, such as DUI
  • Violent crimes, such as domestic violence and battery

Contact our law firm to discuss your case in a confidential consultation.

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