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If You are Arrested in Florida

You Were Arrested in Florida, Now What?

You are under arrest. Does anyone really want to hear that phrase? Of course not, but arrests happen every day in Florida for a variety of reasons – some more serious than others. Obviously a case involving grand theft or robbery will have a more severe impact on your life than a stealing candy from a grocery store. So if you or someone you know has been arrested in Florida, you’ve come to the right place for information. No matter your circumstances, the following article provides basic information about the arrest process, and defendants' rights after an arrest in Florida.

Below you will find key information to help you if you are arrested in Florida, your rights, and where to go if you need a skilled Florida criminal defense attorney.

Difference Between Detention and Arrest in Florida


A detention may be called a "stop and frisk". An officer police officer may stop you and ask you to identify yourself and explain your presence at a particular time, without arresting you. Under Florida law the officer may not remove you from the immediate vicinity without making an arrest, unless you voluntarily accompany the officer to some other location.

What Can the Officer Do During a Detention?

  • The officer may conduct a limited "frisk" of your outer clothing only if he or she has a reason to believe you have weapons on you.
  • The frisk must be limited to identifying weapons, and the officers must return to you any unlawful object found unless they place you under arrest.
  • The officer may ask you some questions in order to complete a field interrogation card. You have a constitutional right to not answer them, or give your name, unless the officer has a reason for believing that you are involved in a crime.

At the conclusion of this temporary detention, the officer must either arrest you or let you go.

Arrest Without a Warrant

A police officer may make an arrest without an arrest warrant under a variety of circumstances. Among those circumstances are:

  • when the officer knows that a warrant for your arrest has been issued and is still in effect even though the warrant may be held by another police officer;
  • when the arresting officer has good reason to believe that a felony has been or is being committed and that you are the person who has committed or is committing the felony.
  • when a misdemeanor is committed in the presence of the officer.

Under Florida law, there are a few specified misdemeanors for which an arrest may be made without a warrant, even when not committed in the presence of the arresting officer. These exceptions to the general rule are, among others,:

  • shoplifting
  • carrying a concealed weapon other than a firearm
  • possession of not more than twenty grams of marijuana

What Happens After an Arrest

  • The officer will take you to a police station.
  • You will be advised generally as to the charges against you.
  • You may be required to participate in a lineup, to prepare a sample of your penmanship, or to speak phrases associated with the crime with which you are charged, to put on certain wearing apparel or to give a sample of your hair.
  • You also may be required to be fingerprinted and photographed.
  • You will be arraigned at a court session or your attorney will file a written plea on your behalf. An arraignment is no more than a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest to the charge. If you plead not guilty, a trial date will be set. If you plead guilty or no contest, a sentencing date will be set, generally after the court has received a pre-sentence investigation report from probation and parole.

Rights After an Arrest

You have a right to:
  • know the crime or crimes with which you have been charged.
  • to know the identity of the police officers who are dealing with you.
  • to communicate by telephone with your attorney, family, friends, or bondsperson as soon after you are brought into the police station as practicable. The police have a right to complete their booking procedures before you are allowed to use the telephone.
  • An right to an attorney at all critical stages of your case. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney to represent you free of charge.

Rights During Police Questioning

Getting Released

You may be released upon:

  • personal recognizance (your promise to appear in court when directed), or
  • released on bail, which involves the posting of either cash money or a surety bond as security for your court appearance.

If you are taken into custody and booked into the jail and remain there, you must be brought before a magistrate judge within 24 hours of your arrest. At that appearance, you may request that the magistrate lower your bail in consideration of your ties within the community, financial resources, employment record or any other factors.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Arrested in Florida? Don't Fret; Get Legal Assistance Instead

If you’ve been arrested for a felony or misdemeanor, you are best advised to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discover what your options are and if you can beat the case. You may have defenses available to you that you aren’t even aware of. Start the process today by reaching out to a Florida criminal defense attorney.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

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  • Defense attorneys can help protect your rights
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