Frequently Asked Questions
I have recently been arrested. What should I do?
In our professional experience, including a combined 12 years as prosecutors for the State of Florida, you should retain an experience criminal trial attorney as soon as possible after your arrest (or once you become aware that you may be the subject of a criminal investigation).
Some crimes, like DUI, have very quick deadlines in which you or your attorney will need to file the appropriate paperwork. For instance, if you've been arrested for DUI, you only have ten days to appeal the suspension of your driver's license.
There are many other scenarios (too many to list) in which the advice of an experienced criminal trial attorney can greatly increase your chance of a successful resolution if you act as soon as possible and allow him/her to begin to work on your case from the very beginning.
Should I tell the arresting officer that I have an attorney?
In most arrest situations, the arresting officer and/or detective will want to take a statement from you concerning your involvement or alleged involvement in the crime in which they are investigating. It is not improper, and often highly advisable, to politely tell the officer and/or detective that you do not wish to answer any questions until you've had a chance to speak to your attorney. Both the United States Constitution as well as the Florida Constitution provide you with this basic and fundamental "right to counsel."
If the police wish to take a statement from you about your involvement in a crime, they are required to read you your Miranda rights. These rights are 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 have an attorney present during questioning.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided/appointed for you.
Most Florida law enforcement agencies read these rights from a standardized Miranda card that they keep on their person. In addition to the four rights listed above, law enforcement agencies in the State of Florida typically add the following two questions:
- Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?
- Having these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?
Some law enforcement agencies will ask that you sign and date a Miranda waiver form that will be used as evidence against you at a later point in time.
In a nutshell, you do not have to answer any questions. You do have the right to have an experienced criminal trial attorney at your side during any questioning. In most cases, while you may think you are helping yourself by providing a statement to law enforcement about your involvement or lack of involvement in a crime, you are almost always better served not answering the questions until you've had the chance to speak with an experienced criminal trial attorney.
How do I pick the right attorney for me?
There are many considerations that you will need to think about prior to choosing an attorney. One of, if not the most important factor in your consideration, should be the attorney's experience with the type of problem/case that you are currently dealing with. An attorney who is trained and experienced in handling your type of case will almost always provide you with an advantage versus a "general practitioner" who may dabble in many different types of law.
The Lawyers of Blake & Dorsten, P.A. are in a unique position to offer the best possible representation in all criminal-related matters. Please review our TRAINING AND CERTIFICATIONS area to get a better understanding of the types of cases that we have been able to successfully handle.
Many people charged with a crime find that an attorney who has practiced law with the State Attorney's Office for an extended period of time can offer a wealth of experience and knowledge concerning your particular problem. After serving the Tampa Bay area community for a combined 12 years as State prosecutors, it is very likely that we have prosecuted and handled cases just like yours. As a result, Blake & Dorsten, P.A. is in a unique position in that it already knows what the prosecutor will most likely be looking for on your particular case. This experience can be used to your advantage.
Other factors that you will want to consider include the following: Will my attorney work hard on my case? Will my attorney be available to meet me and answer any questions I may have? Will I be able to contact my attorney at night or on weekends, if necessary?
We can only answer the above-questions by letting you read what others have said and/or written about us, our work ethic and our willingness to go the extra mile. Please read the many letters that are posted in our COMMENDATIONS section. We know that the best way to evaluate your own personal performance is to know what others are saying about you.
Can you offer me any guarantees as to what will happen with my case?
Just like many other areas of life, there are no absolute guarantees in the criminal justice system. Any attorney who promises you and/or guarantees you a specific result is doing you a disservice. While we will always strive to use our training and experience to your advantage and to work from a position of strength, we simply cannot give you a guarantee as to the outcome of your specific case. Each case that Blake & Dorsten, P.A. handles is factually different and unique from all others that came before it.
Blake & Dorsten, P.A. will always provide you with a free consultation to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case(s). During this consultation, we can provide you with an honest assessment of what a typical outcome may look like in your particular case.
When you are charged with a criminal offense, you want an attorney who will give you an honest assessment of your particular situation. You shouldn't want an attorney to "sugar coat" your problem and/or give you false hope. You also shouldn't want an attorney to promise you something that he/she can’t or won’t live up to.