Avoiding Charges

The fact that you have been arrested does not necessarily mean that you have formal charges against you. The time period immediately after your arrest is generally the time when the investigators and the state attorney are reviewing your case to decide what to charge you with, if at all. You should have someone representing your interests involved during this very critical time period.

Generally, Florida law enforcement officers can arrest you without a warrant if:

  1. they reasonably believe that a felony involving violence has been or is being committed and that you committed or are committing the felony,
  2. while on-duty, they reasonably believe that a felony has been or is being committed, or
  3. a felony warrant for the arrest has been issued and is being held for execution by another peace officer.

The officer must have probable cause to believe that you committed the crime. The best-known definition of probable cause is “a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime”. Law enforcement then has 24 hours to submit its investigation to the state attorney for review and charging (or a decline to charge).

During that 24 hours, officers may request to interrogate you and/or interview your family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers or anyone who potentially has relevant information to the investigation. The earlier you have legal representation to help guide you through this process, the better.

The United States Constitution provides you with certain rights – many of which are implicated in the early stages of any criminal investigation. Statements, interrogations, line-ups, home searches, car searches, storage facility searches, biological samples such as buccal swabs, urine or blood tests, hair and fingerprint collection – these are all parts of an investigation in which you have constitutional rights to protect. A criminal defense attorney, brought into the situation early enough, can help.

Contact Us

If you are at risk of being charged with a crime in Hillsborough, Pinellas, or surrounding Florida counties, contact us immediately. Call 727-446-7505 or fill out our contact form to have us call you. We can also discuss your case privately in either our Clearwater or Tampa office.