Criminal Defense FAQ

Our Fort Myers Criminal Defense Lawyer Has the Answers You Need

Have you been arrested for a crime in Fort Myers, FL? With criminal charges looming over your head, your entire future could be at risk. With that much at stake, it is definitely in your best interest to obtain hard-hitting defense in order to protect your rights against the prosecution. Now is the time to make informed decisions, if you are unsure of who to turn to or what your next step should be, contact a Fort Myers criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As a Former Assistant State attorney, Mr. Edwards has extensive trial experience and unique insight that could greatly benefit your case. Having handled hundreds of jury trials, our firm knows what it takes to obtain a favorable outcome and we will work tirelessly to have your charges reduced or dismissed completely. At Brian L. Edwards, Esq., we have the answers you need. Below we discuss the answers to some of the most common questions pertaining to criminal defense.

Do I need an attorney If I simply intent to plead guilty?
Whether you are guilty of the crime or not, going up against the prosecution without proper legal protection is about the worst thing you could do. If you decide to plead guilty in hopes that the court will have mercy on you for being honest, then you may be terribly mistaken. The judge could give you the maximum penalty leaving you behind bars for many years to come. If you are worried that there is substantial evidence against you, then we can fight to have your charges reduced so that you receive minimal criminal penalties. Before you just throw up the white flag and incriminate yourself to the court, be sure to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss all of your legal options.

If the authorities failed to read me my rights, will my case be thrown out of court?
Many clients are confused by legal shows on television as they assume that it is a realistic interpretation of the criminal justice system today. The truth is that law enforcement officials are not legally obligated to read you your rights when they arrest you. The rights are formally known as the Miranda Warning and they do not need to read it to you unless they have you under arrest and they intend to use any statement you make during questioning as possible evidence against you. The Miranda Warning goes as follows:

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to talk to a lawyer and have him present with you while you are being questioned. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning if you wish. You can decide at any time to exercise these rights and not answer any question or make any statements."

When officials ask to search my car or home do I need to give them my consent?
Under no circumstances are you legally obligated to give the police verbal consent to search your home or vehicle. In fact, as experienced legal professionals, we strongly encourage you to refrain from giving officials your voluntary consent as a necessary precaution. By law, the authorities can only search your property if they have either your consent or a warrant. If they conduct an illegal search, then anything that they find will not be admissible as evidence against you. Law enforcement officials are permitted to search your vehicle; however, if they have reasonable cause to believe that it contains any illegal substances or stolen goods.

Will a DUI/DWI conviction stay on my record permanently?
When it comes to DUI convictions, they do not operate the same as bankruptcy. A DUI conviction will not be taken off your record after a number of years. Any time that someone looks up your criminal record, they will be able to see every criminal offense ever committed, unless you decide to clean up your record history. The only way to remove criminal convictions from your record is to pursue expungement. Every state has differing statutes in this regard; to learn more about expungement, be sure to speak with a criminal defense attorney about the laws in your state.

Am I obligated to answer questions while under arrest?
This is when your rights come into effect; we are here to remind you that "you have the right to remain silent." As frightening as it may be, the authorities have full legal reign to lie to you during questioning. They are permitted to tell you any persuasive story or white lie in attempt to pull a conviction out of you. Many times law enforcement officials will tell the alleged offender that they already have convicting evidence or testimony from a witness, or if they did not commit the crime alone, they will say that their accomplice has already confessed. When confronted with this situation, simply tell the officials that you will not answer any questions until your attorney is present. Always speak to your attorney before answering any questions, this way you can avoid making any incriminating statements.

Can I represent myself in a criminal case?
You have the right to an attorney and if you do not choose one then the court may appoint one for you. The importance of having an aggressive legal defender cannot be stressed enough. When it comes to your choice of counsel, just remember everything that is at stake. The experience level of your attorney could mean the difference between freedom and incarceration.

If you have any further questions, be sure to contact a Fort Myers criminal defense attorney from our firm today!