Articles Posted in Interrogation

As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I have had many conversations with people who believe they may end up having a warrant issued for their arrest.  Sometimes, this conversation comes after law enforcement has completed an investigation; and other times this conversation happens during an active investigation.  Either way, contacting a criminal defense lawyer is a good move when there is the chance a warrant could be issued.  If you are contacted by law enforcement regarding an investigation, contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC immediately at (904) 685-1200.  Our experienced criminal defense lawyers can help advise you of your rights and the necessary actions to protect yourself.  It is also helpful to get a case evaluation based on the facts as early as possible.

Handcuffs1Often, people who are being investigated want to talk to police to explain things.  They wish for the best and hope that they can remove the possibility of an arrest or a warrant being issued.  The truth is talking with the investigating detective or officer is almost always a bad idea, if you’re the target.  Florida law, under Section 901.15, controls situations that arrests can be made.  In general, an officer can only arrest a person for a misdemeanor if the officer sees it happen.  There are exceptions.  For felony crimes, officers can make an arrest without a warrant whenever there is probable cause.  However, in my experience, if officers don’t make an arrest at the time the alleged crime takes place or while in “hot pursuit” of a suspect, officers will usually pursue an arrest warrant.

Talking to a detective or an officer to explain yourself isn’t likely to change his or her mind about the investigation.  All too often I have seen situations  where the evidence that was used to convict a person was given to law enforcement while the defendant was trying to “explain things” to an officer.  Under the 5th amendment you have the right against self incrimination, which basically means you aren’t required to tell on yourself.  The right to remain silent incorporated in the Miranda Warning comes from this right.  The right to an attorney that you hear of in the Miranda Warning comes from the 6th amendment.  You should always exercise these rights.  Remaining silent is probably the most valuable right you have.  You should immediately tell law enforcement that you’d like to contact your attorney.

In July of 2014, an Arizona homeowner shot and killed one of two intruders who had entered his home in the middle of the night. The homeowner was eighty (80) year old Thomas Greer, who had been assaulted during the home invasion and suffered a broken collar bone, according to ammoland.com. Later, When Greer spoke with reporters regarding the attack and the shooting of the female burglar, Mr. Greer made comments that weren’t the smartest of things to say. In fact, the forensic evidence showed that what Greer told reporters wasn’t even the true about what happened.

150202_black-and-white-gun-1409524-m.jpg What Greer told reporters is that the female told him she was pregnant and begged him not to shoot. He said that he shot her in the back as she ran out into his front yard in an attempt to escape. However, the the forensic evidence showed that the female intruder had been shot once in the chest and once in the knee. The evidence also showed that the woman had been shot inside Greer’s home, and later ran outside. The prosecution made its decision not to charge Greer with the shooting death based what the forensic evidence showed, but it could have easily turned into a situation where Greer could have been in need of a criminal defense lawyer himself.

Greer’s example comes to us from Arizona, but could have easily taken place anywhere in the State of Florida. Under Florida law, specifically Florida Statute 776.013, a person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force when an intruder enters a residence without permission. The law creates a presumption that the person using deadly force in this situation to defend his or home home was reasonable in his or her fear of imminent death or great bodily harm. The issue with Mr. Greer’s statements is that the statements have the ability to chip away at the legal presumption of fear of imminent death or great bodily harm.
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Remaining silent is a right that should be exercised more often by people suspected of committing crimes, but unfortunately, people’s desire to explain themselves and tactics used by police oftentimes overcome a person’s better judgement. The best time to contact a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney is before you’ve talked to the police. In an ideal situation, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer even before you’re ever arrested.

The U.S. Constitution and the Florida Constitution, both, protect a person’s right against self-incrimination, meaning that a person can’t be forced to testify against himself or herself. In essence, a person cannot be forced to confess wrongdoing. These provisions are the source of the “Miranda” warnings that you often hear recited to suspects in crime dramas, such as “Law and Order”. The most prominent and important part of the warning is that the suspect has the right to remain silent; remaining silent is a great idea! For you protection, other than basic information like your name, etc, the only thing you should communicate with police about is your desire to have an attorney present.

Clients often think that there is no harm in speaking with an officer or a detective if the client has nothing to hide or hasn’t done anything wrong. The truth is that officers and detectives are searching for any information that can be used to solve the alleged crime, and a confession is the grand prize, even if you don’t realize you’ve confessed.
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