Do I need an attorney to defend my criminal case?

A defendant may defend his or her own case, but it may not be prudent to do so, particularly if the case involves more than a minor infraction. Besides simply presenting a defense, criminal defense lawyers are adept at negotiating for a lesser charge or punishment and at positioning cases for appeal, both of which can be important in resolving a case.

What is plea bargaining?

Plea bargaining is a type of negotiation in which the defendant usually agrees to plead guilty to a lesser criminal charge in exchange for a concession offered by the prosecutor. That concession often is that the prosecution will not press more serious charges. In plea bargaining, the defendant waives three important constitutional rights, namely the right against self-incrimination, right to confront the accuser, and the right to a jury trial. Before accepting plea bargains, courts usually take steps to ensure that the defendant comprehends the consequences. Courts and the criminal justice system consider plea-bargaining to be a valid and essential component in the administration of justice.

What is the difference between arrest and an investigative detention?

An investigative detention is a temporary stop by a law enforcement officer of a person suspected of criminal activity in circumstances when there is a probable cause to arrest the person involved in the criminal act. The investigative detention becomes illegal if it is based only on insufficient factors that include the race or sex of the suspect, curiosity or rumor, or the suspect’s presence in the crime area or his nervous behavior.

In an arrest, the person arrested is not allowed to leave the place by the law enforcement officers. An arrest occurs when a law enforcement officer takes a person into custody in a legally authorized manner.

What is meant by “Miranda Rights”?

The Miranda doctrine requires the police to warn a suspect that he or she has a right to remain silent, that any statement made by the suspect can be used as evidence against him or her, that the suspect has a right to the presence of an attorney during questioning, and if the accused cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney. The so-called “Miranda warning” does not apply to any volunteered statements, and the suspect may waive his or her rights, provided the waiver is made voluntarily and knowingly.

Minors enjoy the same rights regarding the Miranda warnings as an adult. In addition, a minor can invoke the privilege against self-incrimination. The minor may ask to see or telephone his or her parent or guardian or some other adult standing in a relationship to the minor similar to that of an attorney.

Get help fighting your criminal charges

If you or someone you know has been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, contact Jeffrey M. Harris P.A. at 954-522-7000 to discuss your options.