If you are arrested in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, or Sarasota county, the case is then transferred to the State Attorney’s Office to make a decision on whether formal charges will be filed. A few weeks to a month after your arrest, a prosecutor is assigned to your case. He or she will conduct an investigation into the allegations and may even call in witnesses to testify under oath. Frequently, people who are arrested for an alleged crime will sometimes think that nothing will happen and it is best to just wait and hope that the prosecutor will not file charges before hiring an experienced defense attorney. This is a BIG MISTAKE.
You should hire a defense attorney immediately after your arrest. First, an attorney can help review the facts with you, review the charge(s) with you, and develop defenses by locating favorable witnesses and evidence. Second, an attorney can contact the State Attorney’s Office to find out which prosecutor has been assigned to your case, make contact with prosecutor, and ask him to hold off filing charges until such time as favorable evidence can be presented. Third, after an attorney has found out which prosecutor has been assigned to your case, he can then present to the prosecutor favorable facts, witnesses, law and evidence to hopefully prevent charges from being filed.
Relatively speaking, it is much easier for an attorney to prevent a prosecutor’s initial filing of charges than to ask a prosecutor to dismiss a charge that has already been filed. If you wait and assume that a prosecutor will not file charges, then the prosecutor will only have one version of what happened…what law enforcement and/or what an alleged victim said. Essentially, he or she will only have one side of the story without your side being properly presented. This is why is it so important to hire an experienced defense attorney immediately after your arrest.