Right to Remain Silent and Right to a Jacksonville Lawyer

Right to an Attorney in Jacksonville, Florida

Right to an Attorney in Jacksonville, Florida

Imagine that you have been arrested for Florida burglary, giving false verification of ownership to a pawnshop broker, and dealing in stolen property in Jacksonville.  You are handcuffed by Jacksonville police officers and taken downtown to the Duval County Jail.  Instead of taking your fingerprints and picture and booking you, a Duval County detective takes you to an interrogation room to question you about the Jacksonville burglary and dealing in stolen property charges.  The detective tells you that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has so much evidence against you.  The detective tells you that if you confess to Jacksonville dealing in stolen property and burglary, he will make sure that the judge goes easy on you.  You make statements against your interest and that give the State of Florida even more evidence to prosecute you for Jacksonville burglary, dealing in stolen property and false verification of ownership to a pawnshop broker.  Before questioning you, the Jacksonville detective never read your rights, so your confession may be thrown out.

When you are arrested in Jacksonville, you have certain rights provided by the United States Constitution (Read Arrested in Jacksonville, Florida? Did Police Read Your Rights?). The U.S. Supreme Court held, in Miranda v. Arizona, that police must inform persons in custody that they have the right to remain silent, anything that they say can be used against them, they have the right to the presence of an attorney, and an attorney will be provided if they cannot afford one. These are known as Miranda Warnings.   If police do not read your rights and comply with Miranda warnings when arresting a person in Jacksonville, a Jacksonville criminal lawyer can file a motion to suppress any evidence Florida police were able to obtain by violating your Constitutional rights.  If your Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney wins the motion to suppress hearing, the Duval County judge will throw out any statements you made while you were in police custody.  There are exceptions to this rule, which can be found in other Supreme Court rulings, such as Florida v. Powell,130 S. Ct. 1195 (2010).

 In Florida v. Powell, the criminal defendant was charged and convicted of Florida possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Powell was arrested in the apartment in which the gun was found and taken to the police station where Florida police officers questioned him. Police officers testified that Powell stated that the gun was his, so he was arrested for Florida possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The United States Supreme Court held that:

“Criminal suspects have a right to have their lawyer present during police questioning, and the police are required to inform suspects of that right as part of their Miranda Warning.” In this Florida possession of a firearm by a convicted felon case, police officers told a suspect that he had “the right to talk to a lawyer before answering [any] questions” and “[y]ou have the right to use any of these rights at any time you want during this interview.” The Florida Supreme Court held that even though this warning did not specifically mention the right to have a lawyer present during questioning (as opposed to the right to talk to the lawyer before questioning), the warning nonetheless was constitutional because it conveyed to the suspect that he had the right to have an attorney present.”

This Florida Supreme Court ruling appears to have weakened the required reading of your rights under the Miranda warning, but this does not weaken your right to a lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida.  If you are arrested in Jacksonville or police officers are asking your questions about a Florida crime, you should invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and tell the police that you want to talk to a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer before you say anything.  Call 20 Miles Law, a Jacksonville law office, to talk to a lawyer in Jacksonville about your case.

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