Frequently Asked Questions
I am an out of state resident and I was arrested while visiting Florida, what should I do?
If you reside outside of the state of Florida but were arrested for a crime in Miami while visiting as a tourist, student or business professional, it would be in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer from the Miami area, where the offense took place. The Law Offices of Ursula C. Jackson, P.L.L.C. understands the stress and anxiety you may feel due to an already traumatic arrest coupled with the complexities of living out of state. Our Office will provide a diligently and carefully prepared defense for your case and make every effort to minimize any unnecessary appearances for you in a Florida courtroom.
Because it can be inconvenient and costly to travel and defend charges for offenses in the Miami area, we encourage you to take advantage of our free case evaluation, which may be done by phone or in person. Some of the cases that we defend that involve visitors, tourists, students or business professionals who have been arrested while in Florida include:
- Public intoxication
- Disorderly conduct
- Criminal Mischief
- Obstruction of Justice
- Resisting without Violence
- Reckless Driving
- Drug crimes
- Active warrants
- Probation violations
If you are charged with a misdemeanor, we will attempt to address your case without you having to return to Florida. We can file the appropriate motions with the court which may resolve your case without you having to physically appear. If you are charged with a felony, our Office will represent you in court from the moment of your arrest and in some cases you may not have to return to Florida until a resolution has been reached.
I have a warrant out for my arrest for failure to appear or a violation of probation, what are my options?
When you discover or suspect there is an active warrant out for your arrest, it is crucial that you act immediately. Action and cooperation with a warrant matter is the best way to seek leniency and attempt to avoid spending additional time in jail. You may choose to turn yourself in to a local police department where you will likely be processed, taken into custody and be scheduled to appear before the issuing Court. An unexpected or inopportune visit from law enforcement at your home/school/office or a routine traffic stop can lead to you being put in jail until the matter is resolved, sometimes with delay. In some cases, you may be able to pay a set bail, set a new court date and not spend any time in jail. Understandably, you may be very worried about what consequences await you. If you or a loved one has an outstanding warrant, you should act at once to consider negotiating your surrender with the legal assistance of a Miami criminal defense lawyer.
Do I have to answer police questions?
If you have been arrested, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions that the police may ask you. During questioning, law enforcement officials are trained and permitted to make untrue statements, deceive and trick you in an attempt to get information or to obtain a confession. By taking full advantage of your right to remain silent as well as your right to an attorney, you can help ensure that you do not unintentionally or inadvertently incriminate yourself or say or do anything that may negatively impact your case. There is a mistaken belief that the police will "let you go" if you answer all of their questions. Make your best efforts not to learn this lesson the hard way.
What if I want to resolve my case instead of exercising my right to a trial?
Normally, you will be offered a plea agreement from the prosecutor handling your case, which will allow you to be fully informed of the details of a sentence before sentencing by the Judge. By retaining a qualified criminal law attorney at the earliest possible moment in the proceedings, that attorney can assist you in obtaining the best plea agreement possible, if that is determined to be in your best interests. You may also resolve you case by entering an open plea with the Court however, it is essential to speak with your attorney before pursuing that plan of action.
I need to retain a private criminal defense attorney to represent me, how are the fees determined?
As a full service criminal law practice, The Law Office of Ursula C. Jackson, P.L.L.C. takes pride in offering distinguished criminal defense representation in both County and Circuit Court. We believe our flat rate fees are competitive, permitting us to offer high quality, client focused representation by catering to the financial circumstances in which many of our clients find themselves. Fees are determined by the specific nature and complexity of each case, the extent of necessary discovery and trial preparation. Specific fee information will be fully discussed during your free case evaluation.
I am facing criminal charges but suspect that I was the victim of an illegal search or arrest
. Does this matter?
Yes! If you were unreasonably searched or arrested, this may have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. It is highly important to discuss this specific legal situation with a Miami criminal defense attorney that can take the take the appropriate recourse on your behalf by filing a motion to suppress evidence.
An unreasonable search or seizure is described as a search or arrest made without probable cause or a valid warrant. To lawfully conduct a search of a person and/or his or her property, law enforcement must have a valid search warrant or must establish probable cause. The same applies to an arrest. Probable cause is a level of reasonable belief based upon facts or information known to an individual (beyond a simple suspicion or "hunch") that a crime has been committed or is in progress.
Additionally, under the "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine, secondary evidence or information obtained from primary evidence acquired by an illegal search and seizure must be excluded from trial. Evidence and secondary evidence that was obtained in violation of a defendant's fourth amendment rights cannot be used as direct evidence against the defendant.
If law enforcement conducts a search, makes an arrest or collects evidence without a warrant or probable cause and the Court finds that unreasonable search and seizure has occurred, it can turn the case around in the defendant's favor, essentially destroying the entire foundation of the state's case.