Question: When arrested, a person has the right to remain silent. But what if the police detain you, interview you, then give your Miranda warnings, and ask you to confirm previous statements?
Answer: The pre-Miranda statements, if not confirmed post-Miranda, should not be used against you in Court, assuming the interview occurred after you had been detained and not in a voluntary conversation. For example, if you are in handcuffs, police should provide Miranda warnings. On the other hand, if the police call you and ask you to come down to the station voluntarily and speak with them, then your statements could be used against you. A favorite police trick is to ask a witness questions before giving Miranda warnings. Then, after they know everything, they provide Miranda warnings and ask people to confirm what they just said. Most people are afraid not to confirm something that was just admitted only moments earlier.
Another way of putting it is to say that police are only supposed to be able to do certain things in a voluntary encounter. After a person is detained, and certainly after they are arrested different rules apply. Defendants should understand that police may use a “voluntary” encounter to gather evidence.
Bottom line: don’t say anything, don’t answer questions, and ask to have access to an attorney.
Common Question: I’ve been arrested for DUI and someone told me that all the penalties are already laid out in the law. Also, I provided a breath sample and it indicated that I was drunk. If that is true, what help can a lawyer provide to me?
Answer: You are quite right that there may be little that an attorney can do for you. People convicted of a DUI are always placed on probation, always have to take certain classes and do community service. A lot of it is already determined, no matter what your attorney does. However, it may be that the police acted improperly and the evidence against you can be thrown out. This would allow you to escape DUI penalties or be offered a plea to a lesser charge such as Reckless Driving. Consulting an attorney at least allows you to have your case evaluated to determine if there are any defense issues. If there is not much of a defense case, and the decision is made to seek a plea to DUI minimums, your attorney should charge you less than if you seek to take the case to trial.
In Florida, when people file a bankruptcy, they can either elect NOT to claim homestead exemption on their home and utilize up to $5000 of wild card exemptions on personal property, OR they can claim homestead exemption, protect their interest in their home, and opt for only $1000 of wild card exemptions on personal property. For the lucky few who have equity in their home, the choice is obvious: protect up to $125,000 of home equity and surrender other personal property that exceeds $1000.00 (speak with a bankruptcy attorney for more details on retirement funds, autos, and other types of personal property that may be protected).
These days, however, many people are in homes that have no equity. They owe more than the homes are worth. Many of these people continue to live in their “underwater” or “upside down” homes, and many are still making payments. Others are not making payments, but continue to reside at their home while seeking a modification or going through foreclosure.
When such people file a bankruptcy, should they elect to utilize the homestead exemption to protect non-existent home equity, or should they opt for $5000 in personal property and not exempt their homestead? For a long time, Floridians with no equity could take the $5000 in personal property exemptions, not exempt the home, but not fear that they would lose the home to the trustee in the bankruptcy. Sadly, those days are over.
When a bankruptcy is filed, the trustee becomes the owner of non-exempt assets of the debtor. Recently, the trustees have found that they are able to sell their interest in a property (sometimes referred to as “bare title”) to investors that rent out the home while lengthy foreclosure proceedings linger in the court systems. Eventually these investors lose the home back to the bank that holds a note against the property–but not before they’ve rented it out for a profit for months. That means that people who are planning to stay in their homes, even if there is no equity, need to claim homestead exemption and protect their right to live in the property–otherwise they may be evicted and their home rented for the benefit of an investor. That means that bankruptcy filers claiming the homestead exemption will only be given up to $1000.00 of wild card exemption to exempt other personal property, with an additional $1000 that may be used to exempt an auto. Retirement accounts are 100% protected.
Be sure to speak with a bankruptcy attorney prior to filing your case, so that you know what assets may be at risk if you file.
An Orange City man on pre-trial release failed a drug test during a court hearing and was ordered into custody by the judge–that’s when he decided to make a run for it. When court personnel attempted to handcuff him, he jumped over the jury box and over the bar, and tried to run out of the courtroom. A bystander tackled him. Two deputies were injured during the struggle.
The incident shows that court personnel face daily risks at the court house.
The man who was in court for misdemeanor charges, now faces felony charges.
Should people be incarcerated for drug offenses? Is it worth the public expense to house drug offenders in jails and prisons. What do you think?