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You Have the Right to Remain Silent

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

You Have the Right to Remain Silent Fool!

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT | USE IT

Most people view the fifth amendment as a shelter or haven for individuals who have committed a crime. Invoking your right to remain silent is typically viewed as an admission to criminal conduct. After all, if you have nothing to hide in you have nothing to worry about speaking to the police. Right? You couldn’t be more wrong.

10 REASONS TO NEVER SPEAK TO THE POLICE

  1. If the police already have enough evidence to arrest you, they are going to arrest you no matter what you say. If they don’t have enough evidence, you will probably provide them with enough evidence to arrest you………. even if you are innocent.
  2. There is a reason the United States Supreme Court makes police officers warn you that you have a right to remain silent before they ask you questions. It is because speaking to the police is a bad idea nearly 100% of the time………….. even if you are innocent.
  3. The prosecution cannot introduce evidence at a trial concerning you exercising your right to remain silent. The prosecution will cherry pick your worst statements out of context and use them against you in court.
  4. There is no way it can help. I have seen thousands of people talk their way into getting arrested. I have seen one (1) client give a statement and not end up arrested.
  5. If you are guilty, or innocent, you may admit guilt with no benefit in return. If you admit guilt up front, you lose the ability to negotiate a more favorable plea.
  6. Even if you are innocent and only tell the truth, you will always give the police some information that can be used to arrest and convict you.
  7. Even if you are innocent, only tell the truth and say nothing incriminating, there is still a chance that you will be convicted if the police officers do not recall your statements with 100% accuracy.
  8. Even if you are innocent, only tell the truth and say nothing incriminating, there is still a chance that you will be convicted if the police officers do not recall their questions with 100% accuracy.
  9. Even if you are innocent, only tell the truth, say nothing incriminating and your statement is transcribed, audio or video recorded, you can still be convicted if the police have any evidence that any of the statements you made are false. Even the little white lies.
  10. There are over 10,000 pages of federal criminal statutes and thousands of pages of state statutes. There are in an infinite number of factual scenarios where speaking to the police freely might implicate you in some sort of crime that you did not even know existed.

After all that, remember, you have the right to remain silent.  Exercise that right.

WHY WAS THE FIFTH AMENDMENT CREATED?

The Fifth Amendment was created to protect the innocent, not the guilty. You don’t have to take my word for it, you can take the word of Justice Frankfurter, former associate justice United States Supreme Court. “Too many, even those who should be better advised, view this privilege as a shelter for wrongdoers. They too readily assume that those who invoke it are either guilty of crime or commit perjury in claiming the privilege.” Ullmann v. United States, 350 U.S. 422, 426(1956). “The Fifth Amendment’s basic function[s] … is to protect innocent men … who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances. ” See Ohio v. Reiner, 532 U.S. 17, 20(2001).

You Have the right to remain silent. Use it. Refuse to speak with the police without an attorney present. I was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2004. Over the length of my career, I have personally had one (1) client that I allowed to speak to the police during the investigation stage.  A colleague of mine has also allowed (1) client to speak to law enforcement during the investigation stage. Our 2 cases are the only 2 that I am aware of where speaking to law enforcement prior to the filing of charges helped the situation. Those were once in a career cases. I know that I’ll never see another like it.

SOURCES

Please note that I stumbled across this topic while doing legal research for a case. I saw a YouTube video by Regent University Law Professor James Duane which is posted above. It was very informative and I would like to generally site to his video as my source for much of the above information contained herein. Although it has always been my opinion, and almost every criminal defense attorney’s position, that you have a right to remain silent and you should use it.

For additional information, please contact us at:

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 East Broward Boulevard #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525

 

Adjudication Withheld | Collateral Consequences

Adjudication Withheld

Adjudication Withheld

Florida Statute 948.01 gives the trial court discretion to “withhold adjudication” after imposition of a sentence of probation in felony cases.  You are supposedly spared the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction if adjudication is withheld.  There are several benefits to having adjudication withheld.  You can say that you have never been convicted of a crime on employment applications. Your keep your civil rights.  You are eligible to have your record sealed after you complete probation and pay all court costs and fines.  Having adjudication withheld would appear to be a “get out of jail free” card or a “free pass.”  However, a withhold of adjudication is not without collateral consequences.  Don’t let the following talk you out of accepting a withhold of adjudication.  Talk to your lawyer about the decision.  A withhold is almost always better than an outright conviction.

Adjudication Withheld -When You Can’t

The Florida Legislature has been slowly eating away at the offenses that qualify for a withhold of adjudication.  Adjudication cannot be withheld for a First Degree Felony.  Adjudication cannot be withheld in Second Degree Felonies unless one of the two following conditions is met:

  1. The prosecutor must file a written motion with the court requesting that adjudication be withheld; or
  2. The court makes written findings of fact that the facts and circumstances of the case warrant a withhold of adjudication.  In making this finding, the court is required to look to the criteria found in Florida Statute 921.0026.

Third degree felonies are typically eligible to have adjudication withheld.  However, if you have had adjudication withheld on two prior felony offenses, you are not eligible to get a withhold of adjudication.

The court is prohibited from withholding adjudication in certain criminal offenses.  You are not eligible to receive a withhold for the following offenses:

  • Florida Statute 784.07 – Assault or Battery of a Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters, Emergency Medical Care Providers, Public Transit Employees or Agents, or Other Specified Officers;
  • Florida Statute 316.1935 – Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer; Aggravated Fleeing or Eluding;
  • Florida Statute 316.193 – Any criminal offense involving a violation of Florida’s Driving Under the Influence Statute.

This is not a complete list of specific exclusions. These are the statutes that I know off the top of my head.

Adjudication Withheld – When it Doesn’t Count

Sentencing Enhancements:

Although Florida Law authorizes a Judge to withhold adjudication in his/her own discretion, the Florida Legislature also instructs the court to disregard a withheld adjudication and treat it as a prior conviction for certain crimes.  A prior withhold for a driving while license suspended will be treated as a conviction in future driving while license suspended cases.  The same is true with a withhold in petit theft cases.

Federal Law:

Federal Law does not recognize a withheld adjudication.  There is no comparable provision under Federal Law.  If you received a withhold of adjudication in a felony case under Florida Law, you are a convicted felon under Federal Law.  While Florida Law permits an individual to own a firearm if adjudication is withheld, Federal Law does not.  So you can be charged federally for convicted felon in possession of a firearm notwithstanding the withhold.

The same is true with immigration.  Criminal convictions can have severe immigration consequences.  A withhold on a crime of “moral turpitude” can still result in deportation since Federal Law does not recognize a withheld adjudication.

Foreign Countries:

Foreign countries do not have to and, in my experience, typically treat a withheld adjudication as a criminal conviction.  Countries can and do refuse to grant tourist visas to individuals convicted of certain criminal offenses.  You can typically come and go as you please at the Mexican Border.  I don’t even remember somebody checking my ID most times that I went across the Mexican Border.  However, Canada is a bit different, meaning that they, sometimes, actually check your background.  People are regularly denied admission to Canada for misdemeanor convictions.  Canada may or may not honor the withhold.  If you have a withhold, it would be good idea would be to check to make sure you are admissible before you travel to a foreign county.

Ft. Lauderdale criminal attorney, Michael Dye, handles cases with complex sentencing issues.  Mr. Dye has been able to obtain favorable sentences for clients including downward departures, alternative sentences and numerous withheld adjudications.  For additional information, please contact us at:

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 East Broward Boulevard #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525.

Decriminalization of Marijuana | Broward County

Decriminalization of Marijuana

Decriminalization of Marijuana in Broward               County, Florida

On November 10, 2015, the Broward County Commissioners passed ordinance number 2015-45. The recently passed ordinance gives police officers in Broward County the discretion to issue a civil citation in lieu of a misdemeanor criminal charge for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. Despite the language used to describe it, this ordinance is does not constitute decriminalization or the legalization of marijuana.

Is this Legalization of Marijuana?

No. Possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana is still illegal pursuant to Florida Statute 893.13 People are still getting arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Broward County every day.  A state criminal statute is superior to a municipal ordinance. The Broward County Commission does not have the legal authority to, and did not attempt to, invalidate Florida statute 893.13.

The Broward County ordinance does not “decriminalize” possession of marijuana.  Possession of any amount of marijuana is still illegal under federal and state law.  The recently passed ordinance does provide a discretionary noncriminal means of enforcement.  Police officers have always had broad discretion when making an arrest decision for misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The officer now has the option to charge misdemeanor possession of marijuana civilly as opposed to criminally.  Prior to the effective date of November 17, 2015, a police officer in Broward County had the following options when making an arrest decision for misdemeanor possession of marijuana:

  • Make a formal arrest and take the suspect to jail;
  • Issue a Notice to Appear for a misdemeanor criminal offense;
  • Confiscate the marijuana and take no further action.

Now that the ordinance is effective, a police officer in the exact same situation has a fourth option:

  • Make a formal arrest and take the suspect to jail;
  • Issue a Notice to Appear for a misdemeanor criminal offense;
  • Issue a civil citation for a violation of the Broward County Code;
  • Confiscate the marijuana and take no further action.

Not Decriminalization Not Legalization

In reality, nothing has changed. When someone is arrested for possession of marijuana, it is usually not the only criminal charge. Marijuana charges typically come in two’s. Possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Somewhere back in time an unknown police officer came up with the idea that the plastic bag holding your marijuana could be charged as drug paraphernalia.  The Broward County ordinance does not address possession of drug paraphernalia. However, since possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, the police officer has the discretion to simply not charge you at all.  The probability that you will be charged criminally for both possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia has a strong correlation to how big of a jerk you are to the police officer.

Odor of Marijuana | Automobile Exception

The outright legalization of marijuana would significantly curtail police action. The police regularly use the odor of marijuana as a basis to search a vehicle without a warrant.  That is known as the “automobile exception.”  The Broward County municipal ordinance does not overrule the automobile exception to the warrant requirement.  The police are still legally allowed to search your vehicle if they smell marijuana coming from the inside of the vehicle.

Below is a copy of the ordiance number 2015-45.  Visit https://www.municode.com for the complete Broward County Code.

Download (PDF, 2.61MB)

Broward County criminal defense attorney, Michael Dye, has extensive experience handling misdemeanor and felony violations of probation.  For more information concerning possession of marijuana and other drug charges, please contact us at:

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 East Broward Boulevard #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525 or
The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 2 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131 (305)459-3286