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Criminal Defense - FAQ

Answers to Common Questions

In order to provide you with as much information as possible, we have provided a list of answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding DUI and other criminal cases. That being said, it would be almost impossible to list every question and answer on one page. A Miami criminal defense lawyer at the firm can further explain any matters that may still be of concern to you.

So, if you don't find the information you are looking for on these pages, please feel free to contact our office at (305) 290-2313.

What should I do after a drunk driving arrest? 
DUI charges are very serious and you should contact an attorney right away. A Miami-Dade County DUI defense lawyer at the firm may be able to help you avoid the serious consequences of a drunk driving or other DUI arrest.

What is the difference between an assault charge and a battery charge? 
Simply put, the major different between assault and battery charges is the actual use of force vs. the intention or threat of use of force. In cases of assault, no actual physical interaction needs to take place; the mere threat of physical harm is enough to elicit assault charges. Battery, on the other hand, does require that injury or harm be done to a person through the use of forceful physical actions.

What is a white collar crime? 
White collar crimes are illegal acts that are committed in the arena of business. These are actions that financially enhance the status of those who partake in them. Some of the most common white collar crimes are fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, computer crimes, bribery, identity theft, copyright infringement and forgery.

Why was my DUI charged as a felony? 
There are several reasons that can lead to a felony DUI charge and they depend on the circumstances of your accident. In general, any drinking and driving accidents that result in bodily harm or wrongful death to another person will be charged as a felony. In addition, depending on the number of prior DUI convictions you have received your most recent DUI case may also be charged as a felony.

What if I have been wrongfully accused of a crime? 
Unfortunately, false allegations and wrongful accusations occur more often that we would like to think. If you or someone you know has been arrested and now faces trial for a crime that you did not commit, then you need to hire legal representation immediately. It is said that you are innocent until proven guilty, but don't be mistaken. Courts often aim to prosecute defendants, not find out the actual truth and without the right legal representation on your side you could be at a great disservice.

If the police ask to search my car or my home, do I have to oblige? 
The answer is no. In most cases, law enforcement officials must legally get your verbal consent or a warrant to search your car and your house. If you do give your consent, then unfortunately any evidence that the find against you is admissible in court. If you refuse consent for them to search your car, they may still legally have permission and will do so anyway. If they don't however have legal grounds, then anything that they found as evidence could be thrown out and cannot be used in court. It is always advised to refrain from giving consent because anything they find can be used against you.

Can police lie to me during questioning? 
Unfortunately, yes. Law enforcement officials are permitted to tell you a flat out lie in hopes that you will confess and incriminate yourself. Many times they will lie and tell you that they already have key witnesses ready to testify against you, your accomplices have already confessed, or they have evidence that proves you are guilty, when in fact they really don't.

Can't I simply plead guilty and get it over with? 
If you are indeed guilty and there is a great deal of evidence against you, it is still vital that you have a legal defender to protect your best interests. If you go up against the prosecution without the proper protection then you may end up receiving a maximum sentence for the crime you committed. What Attorney Tomas can do is negotiate with the prosecution and fight to have your charges reduced to a minimal sentence. It is never wise to simply give up hope and stop fighting; your future is something worth fighting for.

Are the police required to read me my rights when they take me into custody? 
Contrary to what the movies tell you, the police are not legally obliged to read you the Miranda rights when they take you into arrest. Many still do as a precautionary measure because if they do not and you end up making an incriminating statement, they are not allowed to use your declaration as evidence against you in trial. The Miranda warning is essential for when you are in police custody and they wish to question you and use your answers as evidence. If you are not in custody however, and they question you trying to find out information about a case, anything you say can be admissible as evidence even without the Miranda warning. The warning goes as follows, "You have the right to remain silent, if you do say anything, what you say can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult with a lawyer and have that lawyer present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you so desire. I you choose to talk to the police officer, you have the right to stop the interview at any time.

What's the difference between probation and parole? 
People are usually considered for probation if is their first offense the crime was of a nonviolent nature. The probationary period comes once the defendant's jail or prison sentence has been suspended and they are permitted to serve out the rest of their sentence as an active member of the community, outside of incarceration. This privilege is only allowed if they follow and abide by all the terms of their agreement and the conditions of their probation. Once probation is over and completed, then they free from any further court supervision.

Parole is somewhat different from probation in that it is granted to people who have served the minimum number of years in prison. Once that amount of time has passed, then their case is reviewed by the parole board and they decide whether or not they can be released to finish the remainder of their sentence out on parole. Several factors are taken into consideration when making this decision, such as the nature of the crime committed, whether they have some place to go, how crowded the prison is and their overall attitude and cooperation throughout their time in prison. Parole, similar to probation, also comes with certain conditions and limitations that must be followed otherwise it could be revoked. If the individual complies with the terms of their parole for the duration of time allotted, then their criminal sentence is completed and discharged.

In 1983, Florida enacted the sentencing guidelines, thereby effectively abolishing parole for those offenders who were sentenced for crimes committed on or after October 1, 1983. For federal crimes, parole was abolished as of November 1, 1987, although the Parole Commission retained limited jurisdiction over some defendants for some years after that.

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