After there has been an allegation or report of a criminal offense, law enforcement officers will respond to the scene, investigate, and speak to various witnesses, including the person who they suspect of committing the crime. If you are suspected of a crime, the responding officers may try to question you at the scene or detectives assigned to the case may attempt to question you at a later time. When law enforcement suspects you of a crime, it is ALWAYS best not to answer any questions and to consult with an experienced defense attorney. Officers are trying to gather incriminating information against you and, anything you say, can be used against you later in court.
As a Floridian and a United States citizen, you have certain rights guaranteed by both the Florida and Federal Constitution, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, the well known Miranda rights. Officers involved in investigating a crime do not usually have a legal obligation to read you these rights if questioning you on the roadside, in a public place, or if you voluntarily go to the police station for a interview. In Florida, it is very important to invoke these rights at the earliest opportunity. If you tell law enforcement that you have nothing to say and want to invoke your right to remain silent, then police officers must “scrupulously honor” your request and cease asking you questions. If you tell officers that you want an attorney, officers must immediately stop questioning you until you have had an opportunity to consult with your attorney. Law enforcement is not generally supposed to reinitate contact with you after you have invoked your rights, but may after a sufficient period of time has passed. It is usually best to invoke both the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney at the same time unequivocally. In Florida, you cannot selectively invoke these rights. For example, you cannot say I want to answer some questions but not others. This will be deemed a waiver of these rights.
Prior to speaking with the police, it is extremely important to speak with an experienced defense attorney especially if the police are investigating a serious criminal offense. Should you have any questions please give our office a call.