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Are you a criminal suspect? Here's what you need to know

The vast majority of American citizens and Florida residents are not criminals, and even those who have been convicted of criminal activity are not necessarily criminals. Obviously they are criminals in the eyes of the law, but wrongful convictions are not unheard of. This is important to remember because all too many people think that just because they are innocent, they have nothing to fear.

In a perfect world, no one would ever be convicted of a crime they did not commit, but unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world, and our courts can only make the best decisions based on the evidence and cases presented before them. With that in mind, it is good to have knowledge of criminal procedure, even if you have no intention of ever committing a crime, because you could one day find yourself an unsuspecting suspect.

It is important to remember that simply being stopped by a police officer does not mean that you are under arrest. Being pulled over for speeding, for instance, or stopped and questioned is not any indication of actual legal action against you. You are only officially arrested when an officer incapacitates you or detains you in such a way that your freedom to move is revoked. Remember that in nearly all circumstances, officers must inform you that you are being arrested and why they are arresting you.

Perhaps most important about the criminal arrest process is knowing what rights you have even after you have been arrested. Most critically, you do not have to speak to the police or answer any questions they ask you. Additionally, you can enlist the aid of a defense attorney and consult with that attorney at any time before answering a question. If you are suspected of a crime in Florida, or you have been arrested of a crime in Florida, consider contacting an attorney immediately to help you take advantage of your rights.

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