Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Florida Legal Article: Attorney Mount Dora


In Mount Dora, attorneys skilled in representing clients accused with committing crimes can provide effective legal counsel during criminal proceedings.  Both highly-educated in practicing criminal law and applying the law to the facts surrounding their clients’ cases, Mount Dora attorneys ensure that their clients’ constitutional rights are protected.  While it’s a good idea to hire a reputable criminal defense lawyer, every person charged with committing criminal acts should make sure they have a foundational knowledge of the criminal process.

Miranda Rule:

The Miranda Rules requires that police inform you of certain constitutional rights when they are taking you into custody.  They must inform you of these rights before beginning any interrogation.  These rights include:

  • The right to remain silent;
  • The right to have a Mount Dora attorney present during questioning;
  • The right to have a Mount Dora attorney appointed if you are unable to afford one.

It’s important to note that the police can question you before taking you into custody.  They are only required to read you your Miranda rights when arresting you.  Should you choose to say anything after that point, they may use it against you later in court.

Booking:

After arresting you, the police will transport you to the police station and begin the booking progress, during which they will fingerprint you, search and photograph you, catalog and store any of your personal belongings, and ask you identifying questions like to give your name and date of birth.  Keep in mind it’s a good idea to ask to speak with a Mount Dora attorney before answering any questions regarding the alleged criminal acts you are charged with committing.

Appointment of an Attorney:

Federal and Florida law require that the government appoint an attorney from Mount Dora or elsewhere to represent defendants who cannot afford to hire criminal defense attorneys on their own.  The police officer who books you must assist you in contacting the public defender’s office once you tell them you are unable to afford to hire a Mount Dora attorney yourself.

When the Court appoints an attorney from Mount Dora or elsewhere to serve as your public defender, you’re only allowed to have a new attorney appointed if you can show good cause to the Court.  This has to rise above the level of mere dissatisfaction with your public defender, it must include something like:

  • A conflict of interest between you and the public defender;
  • Your public defender cannot effectively represent you due to illness;
  • You have good reason to believe your attorney is not providing effective assistance.

Arraignment:

After the criminal charges have been officially filed against you, the court will hold a proceeding known as an “arraignment,” during which you’ll be required to make an appearance.  This usually happens within 72 hours after you’ve been imprisoned.  An attorney from Mount Dora (or elsewhere) will represent you during the arraignment, and you’ll be asked to enter a “plea” to the crime you’ve been charged with committing.  The following pleas are valid according to Florida law:

  • Guilty plea:  You admit to the facts of the crime and that you did commit it.
  • Not guilty plea:  A “not guilty” plan means you claim that you did not commit the crime for which you have been accused.
  • No contest plea:  A “no contest” plea means that you do not admit guilt, but recognize the government has a strong case against you and you do not dispute the charge.
  • Mute plea:  Florida law allows you to choose to “stand mute” rather than making a plea.  The Court will then enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf.  This is a method of refusing to admit the correctness of the proceedings against you

Sentencing:

Once you plead “guilty” or “no contest,” there is no need to hold a trial and you will move right to sentencing.  Also, those who plead not guilty but who are convicted at trial will move to the sentencing phase afterward. Attorneys in Mount Dora and elsewhere can provide effective legal counsel for you during the sentencing phase, and also during the appeals process if you choose.

Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (850) 423-0035