Police Powers To Search
Even before an arrest has been made, the police may, without a warrant, search a person or a car if they have reason to suspect the person holds, or the car contains evidence of a crime, for example, illegal drugs. Police holding a search warrant have wider powers to search and enter premises and vehicles. To obtain evidence of an offence, police can, in some cases, break into a house or a car.
Do I Have To Answer Questions Asked By Law Enforcement Officers
No. You have the constitutional right to remain silent. In general, you do not have to talk to law enforcement officers , even if you do not feel free to walk away from the officer, you are arrested, or you are in jail. You cannot be punished for refusing to answer a question. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer before agreeing to answer questions. In general, only a judge can order you to answer questions.
Can The Witness Drop A Restraining Order
Orders of protection or restraining orders are different from domestic violence arrests. Therefore, a victim could request that the court revoke an order of protection or protective order. However, if a criminal matter is pending, orders in the criminal case would remain in effect.
For example, if the judge placed conditions on the defendants release, such as staying away from the alleged victim, the defendant must abide by that order. Violating the order could result in going back to jail until trial.
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How Do You Know If Police Will Press Charges
Being aware of how law enforcement will formally press charges against a suspected criminal can help you determine whether or not charges are being filed against you. In most circumstances, if they decide to go forward with the charges, the State Attorneys office will send you whats called a summons to appear at court for an arraignment hearing.
How Do I Know Police Will Press Charges
People often ask how to know if the State Attorneys office, or the police, will press charges against them. There are several ways to know if, in fact, charges are going to be placed against you. The first and most obvious way is that youre arrested and youre booked into the county facility. Usually, at that point, youll either be given a court date when you bond out or in the mail at some point in the near future. However, it is not always that straightforward.
Depending on the specifics of the incident, you may never be placed in cuffs or booked, but that does not mean you wont be charged with a crime. In the event you are, be sure to acquire the legal services of a seasoned criminal defense attorney. The Orlando criminal defense attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm have over 100 years of combined experience and have served as prosecutors at the state and local level. We can use our insight on how the police or prosecutors operate to best position you for a favorable outcome to your case.
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The Roles Of The Prosecutor And Grand Jury
If the police arrest the suspect, the prosecutor will review the police report and determine whether the government can proceed on the charges. The prosecutor must determine whether the government can, with the available evidence, prevail at trial. To win at trial, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubta standard of proof much higher than probable causethat the accused committed the crime.
In some states, the prosecutor files criminal charges against the defendant, which must then be reviewed by a judge to decide if the evidence supports the charges. This review hearing is often referred to as a probable cause or preliminary hearing. Other states require the prosecutor to present the evidence to a grand jury, which will decide if enough evidence exists to proceed to trial. If so, the grand jury issues an indictment , which formally charges the accused and starts the criminal trial.
When Are Assault Charges Dropped
Assault charges can be dropped at a number of stages:
Most commonly, charges are dropped at either end of an investigation as a result of the failure of the two tests which applied when determining whether a case should be charged.
Even if the police decide to charge an individual, these charges can be dropped if the case fails to meet the standards required in evidence to pursue a criminal conviction due to further information or evidence coming to light.
If insufficient evidence is found, or evidence does not provide a realistic prospect of conviction, then the police may decide to drop the case. If there is sufficient evidence, then the second test will be considered.
The second test called the public interest test assesses whether it is in the interest of society that a case is followed up to Court. Typically, the more severe the case the more likely it is to pass this test. Often the interests of the victim are considered in this decision, with views taken by the victims family or the complainant themselves.
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Case Goes To The Prosecutor’s Desk
At this point, the police usually bring the evidence to the prosecutor, who will determine whether to press criminal charges against the suspect. Criminal charges are filed with the court in what’s called a complaint . The complaint identifies the suspect and specifies the crimes alleged to have been committed by the suspect.
Can The Police Examine Me
If you have been arrested, the police may search you and seize anything they find. If the police wish to have you searched by a doctor, you have the right to have a doctor of your own choice present if it is practicable.
After you have been charged, you can be photographed, fingerprinted, asked to supply a sample of your handwriting or have your voice recorded. The police may also wish to take a sample of your blood, hair, fingernails, saliva, etc, or have you examined by a doctor or dentist. If you do not consent, tell the police and ask to speak to a lawyer, but do not resist.
If the police suspect you have committed a serious offence, they can take a DNA sample by mouth swab even if you have not been arrested or charged.
You may also be asked to participate in an identification line up. You do not have to consent, but you should seek legal advice.
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Right To Have A Lawyer While You Are Being Questioned As A Suspect
You have the right to have a lawyer present while you’re being interviewed. Most adults can agree to be interviewed without a lawyer but it is not likely to be in your best interests. The police will take a note of why you chose not to have a lawyer.
Some people can only be interviewed with a lawyer present:
- children under 16 years of age
- young people with a compulsory supervision order aged 16 or 17
- vulnerable adults – 16 years or older who might not understand what is happening or be able to communicate with the police because of a mental health condition or learning disability.
16 and 17 year olds who are not vulnerable or under a compulsory supervision order will need the consent of a parent or another adult if they want to be interviewed without a lawyer.
If you choose to have a lawyer, the police should not start the interview until your lawyer is present, unless a senior officer thinks questioning should start straight away to prevent crime or apprehend a criminal. But you still have the right to silence.
Being Questioned Voluntarily As A Suspect
You might choose to go to the police station voluntarily if the police suspect you of a crime, for example because you want to clear your name.
If you’re a suspect, at least 1 hour before they start to interview you the police should tell you:
- thegeneral nature of the offence they suspect you have committed
- that you have the right to silence – other than your name, address, date of birth, place of birth and nationality
- that you have the right to have a solicitor present during the interview.
Any statement that you make will be noted and may be used in evidence.
If you’re attending a police station voluntarily you are free to leave at any time. However, the police could decide to arrest you and take you into custody to prevent you from leaving and allow more questioning.
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The Path Of A Typical Arrest
In the typical scenario, a crime victim contacts the police, and the police come to the scene or meet with the victim and ask for information.
If the offender is at the scene and the offense just occurred, the police may be able to arrest the person immediately but only if the police have “probable cause”a reasonable belief that a crime has occurred and the arrestee did it.
If the offender isn’t at the scene, the police will usually need an arrest warrant, issued by a judge, before they take the person into custody. The police must gather information and evidence and determine whether probable cause exists for an arrest warrant.
In other cases, a victim might file a police report alleging that a crime was committed against them. Similar to the above scenario, the police might need additional evidence to obtain an arrest warrant for the suspect.
Going To The Police Station
If the police want you to go with them to a police station, you can refuse unless they are arresting you or in special circumstances such as:
- when youre driving and they want to do a breathalyser or drug test
- theyre investigating a report of family violence
- they believe youre mentally impaired and need to be taken into custody.
Always ask why they want you to go with them. If you ask the police, they must also give you their name, police station and rank. You can ask for this in writing.
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Do You Have The Right To Press Charges
The simple answer is, Yes. The victim of crime always has the right to bring charges and if the police can substantiate the charge with the evidence and the statute of limitations on bringing the charge has not elapsed, then it can be initiated. * This will flag comments for moderators to take action.
Have Someone Else Told You Are At The Police Station
As well as a lawyer, you have the right to have 1 other person told that you’re at the police station. This might be a family member, a carer or a friend.
You don’t have the right to make a telephone call personally – the police will do this for you. The police must do this without delay unless there is a good reason not to, for example, that it might lead to the destruction of evidence or the warning of accomplices. The delay shouldn’t be longer than is needed to investigate, prevent crime or apprehend offenders.
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Facing Criminal Charges Despite The Victims Wishes Call Us
Sometimes things happen and in the heat of the moment police are called. After events have calmed, there may be those who wished they hadnt involved the legal system. Unfortunately, there may be little a victim can do to stop prosecution. If you find yourself in this situation, you need Sarasota criminal defense lawyer Erika Valcarcel to fight for you. Attorney Valcarcel knows how to work with prosecutors to present arguments that you shouldnt face charges, or that they should be reduced.
Contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. at to schedule an appointment. Dont delay and dont talk to police or prosecutors about your case before consulting Attorney Valcarcel.
Can An Assault Charge Arise After Being Dropped
There is a lot of confusion about double jeopardy the law which prevented individuals from being tried for the same crime twice. This was recently removed but only in relation to very serious cases.
When a case is deemed serious enough and if new compelling evidence comes to light that will increase the likelihood of a conviction, then a case can be reopened, reinvestigated and retried. It is important to stress that only criminal offences of a very serious nature will be reopened. The rule regarding double jeopardy would not apply in the vast majority of cases.
If the CPS decide to discontinue a case due to it not being in the public interest or due to a lack of evidence being available, they will normally make it clear when they announce their decision that it is possible for the case to be reviewed if new or further evidence comes to light.
Similarly, if charges are dropped prior to the conclusion of a police investigation, then a charge could potentially be reopened if the new evidence is deemed of value. This may happen when the results of a forensic examination were not known when the case was dropped that then came to light through ongoing or related investigations.
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Requirement Of Sufficient Evidence To Prosecute A Suspect
The investigation file must contain sufficient evidence for the prosecutor to decide to charge a suspect. This means that the prosecutor must be convinced that there is enough evidence that a judge or jury could reasonably find the suspect guilty of the crime charged.
To convict, the prosecutor must convince the judge or jury that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
When a prosecutor decides not to charge the suspect, it doesnt mean that the victim was mistaken or not telling the truth. It only means that the police investigation did not uncover enough evidence for the prosecutor to believe that a conviction is possible. For example, the prosecutor may not be sure that the suspect was the person who committed the crime.
What Happens In The Real World
In the real world, if the police suspect a crime has occured, they will fully investigate it, and will not hesitate to take suspects into custody, even if the victim makes it clear that he or she does not want to press charges.
From there, the prosecutor or district attorney will decide whether to charge anyone with a crime. What the victim thinks is the appropriate punishment for the alleged perpetrator does factor into the prosecutors decision especially given the recently passed . However, the charging decision is completely in the hands of the prosecutor.
In fact, the victim may even be forced to appear in court and testify even though he or she does not want to press charges. In Florida, if a victim ignores their witness subpoena to testify at trial the government can request the Court issue a material witness warrant. This results in the police going out to find and arrest a victim that does not want to press charges in order to force the victim to testify in court. This isnt common practice and usually only happens in the most serious of cases, but it does happen.
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Mandatory Charging With Domestic Assaults
When it comes to allegations of domestic assault, the police, Crown Attorneys office and the courts enforce a zero-tolerance attitude. Domestic abuse is a real problem in Canada and it creates a power imbalance, particularly in cases where a male is abusing a female. These types of assaults also negatively affect children living in the home. As well, there is a risk the attack will increase in severity if not dealt with in a timely manner.
This hardline approach to domestic violence began almost four decades ago, according to a report by the University of Ottawas Department of Criminology. It states that mandatory charging introduced by the federal Solicitor General in 1982, came into use across Ontario over the following decade as one component of an aggressive criminal justice response to intimate partner violence . This policy places the onus on police officers to lay charges against violent partners where there are reasonable and probable grounds to do so thus removing this decision from victims.
The report adds that one-quarter of women who contacted the police did not want charges laid, 36% wanted charges laid, and 34% were unsure police were also more likely to lay charges in cases where women had suffered physical injuries at some point in the relationship.
What Happens During The Police Investigation
The police will talk to you and anyone else who knows something about the crime. They may also collect evidenceevidenceVarious things presented in court to prove an alleged fact i.e. videos, witness statements.View the full glossary to help with the case. If the police have enough evidence, they’ll make an arrest and charge the person.
You can also watch the video for an overview of the police investigation.
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The Prosecutor For Criminal And Penal Prosecutions Decides Whether To Formally Accuse The Suspect Of A Crime
In a criminal trial, the decision to prosecute belongs to the prosecutor of criminal and penal prosecutions, not the victim or the police. The prosecutor makes that decision after analyzing the evidence in the police investigation file.
Criminal and penal prosecutions attorneys are commonly called prosecutors or Crown prosecutors. They are lawyers who prosecute the accused on behalf of the government and act in the public interest. Although they do not represent victims, they still must consider the rights and interests of each victim.
If the prosecutor decides to authorize charges against a suspect, that person is formally charged and becomes the accused. This step marks the beginning of court proceedings. The accused must then appear before a judge for the first time. After that, the victim is sent a letter stating the accuseds name and the crimes that the accused faces.