Understanding Criminal Procedure and Getting Arrested in Florida

Police and Procedures for Arrest in Tampa

During an arrest, police officers detain a person in police custody, often because they are suspected of committing a crime. Arresting someone is a serious matter that involves depriving a person of their freedom of movement. For this reason, police are required to follow certain procedures when effecting an arrest. 

The specific procedural requirements for arrest vary between states. Individual police departments also often have additional arrest procedures. 

It is often assumed that police must put a person in handcuffs or into a police vehicle to arrest them, however, this is not the case. Police may choose to do so depending on the circumstances but they are not legally required to handcuff or physically detain someone to effect an arrest. 

Police are also not legally required to read someone their Miranda rights (“you have the right to remain silent, anything you do say…”) at the time of their arrest. These rights must be explained before police can interrogate someone. In practice, however, police often read a person their Miranda rights at the time of their arrest.  

Specific circumstances must exist before a police officer can lawfully arrest someone. 

When Can an Officer Make an Arrest in Tampa

A police officer can't arrest someone just because “they look suspicious” or the police officer “has a hunch” about something. 

A police officer can arrest someone when they:

  • Have an arrest warrant issued by a judge
  • See someone commit a crime
  • Have probable cause to believe someone committed or is about to commit a crime

Probable cause means that actual information exists leading the police officer to believe the person has committed or is about to commit a crime. In other words, the police officer holds more than mere suspicion, but not enough to establish beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person committed or will soon commit a crime. 

Excessive Force in Florida

The issue of excessive force often arises in the context of an arrest. Under the Fourth and Eighth amendments of the Consitution, police must only use the minimum force reasonably necessary to effect an arrest. They cannot use excessive force. 

When reviewing whether the force used was reasonable, a court will consider factors including:

  • The seriousness of the crime the person was suspected of committing
  • Whether the suspect was a threat
  • Whether the suspect attempted to escape arrest

If excessive force is used during an arrest, the suspect may have a basis for a civil case against the officer for violating their constitutional rights. A person subject to excessive force can also file a formal complaint with the relevant police department, which may consider disciplinary action, or the Department of Justice, which may consider criminal charges depending on the circumstances and results of any investigation. 

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer if Arrested in Florida

If you are arrested by police, you should immediately ask to speak to a criminal defense lawyer. You have the right to do so and they are best placed to advise you of the law and the options available to you in your circumstances. 

An attorney can also later review your arrest for any issues of excessive force or unlawful arrest and assist you with preparing any related motions. Call Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC today at 813-320-7500 to schedule a Free to speak to one of our criminal defense attorneys. You don't have to face this alone.

Tampa's Law Enforcement and Arrest Processes and Procedures

When a person is detained in police custody during an arrest, it is typically because the arresting officers have reasonable grounds to suspect that the person committed a crime. When someone is arrested, they have their freedom of movement taken away from them, which is a severe concern in and of itself. Because of this, the law enforcement officers who make an arrest must adhere to specific protocols.

Different states have different procedures that must be followed before an arrest can be made. There are frequently extra arrest processes that individual police departments use.

It is a common misconception that in order for the police to make an arrest, the suspect must first be placed in handcuffs and then transported to the station in a police vehicle. Handcuffing or physically detaining a suspect to make an arrest is not required under the law. However, the police may do so, depending on the circumstances.

At the time of an individual's arrest, the police are not legally compelled to read them their Miranda rights, which include the statements "you have the right to stay silent, anything you do say..." Before the police can question someone, they must clarify these rights to them. In actuality, however, Miranda rights are typically read aloud to the person being arrested at the same time as the Miranda rights.

Some requirements must be met before a law enforcement officer can legitimately arrest a suspect.

When Does an Officer Have the Authority to Make an Arrest in Tampa?

The phrase "they appear suspect" or the saying "the police officer has a feeling about something" are not sufficient grounds for a police officer to make an arrest.

When someone meets the following criteria, a police officer may make an arrest:

  • Get a court to issue an arrest warrant for your arrest.
  • See someone commit a crime.
  • You must have reasonable grounds to suspect someone has committed a crime or is likely to do so.

When police officers have probable cause, it indicates that they have access to genuine facts that lead them to believe a person has committed a crime or is likely to commit a crime. To put it another way, the officer has more evidence than a simple suspicion. Still, it is not sufficient to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the person has already committed a crime or will do so in the near future.

Abuse of Force in the State of Florida

In the context of an arrest, the question of using excessive force frequently arises. To comply with the requirements of the Fourth and Eighth Amendments of the Constitution, law enforcement officers are only allowed to use the force that is considered the absolute minimum necessary to effectuate an arrest. They are not allowed to employ an excessive amount of force.

A court will take into consideration the following elements while determining whether or not the amount of force that was used was appropriate:

  • The nature and degree of the offense for which the individual was accused of being responsible
  • Whether or not the suspect posed a danger.
  • Whether or if the culprit attempted to evade capture.

Suppose an officer uses force disproportionate to the arrest's circumstances. In that case, the suspect may have grounds for a legal complaint against the officer for breaching their constitutional rights. A person who has been the victim of excessive force can file a formal complaint with the relevant police department, which may consider disciplinary action, or the Department of Justice, which may consider criminal charges depending on the circumstances and the results of any investigation. Both options are available to the person who has been the victim of excessive force.

Why You Should Get a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florida if You've Been Arrested

If the police decide to place you under arrest, your priority should be to request to speak with a criminal defense attorney. You are well within your rights to do so, and they are in the greatest position to counsel you regarding the law and the choices that are open to you, given the specifics of your situation.

After the fact, a lawyer can investigate your arrest to determine whether or not unlawful arrest or excessive force was used. They can also help you prepare any appropriate motions. Dial the following number: 813-320-7500 to reach Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC, today to schedule a free consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys. You don't have to go through this ordeal by yourself.

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