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What You Must Know as a Defendant
Charged with a Crime

by Ira Still, Esquire
South Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

In Jail or Out on Bond


Article Summary:

If you ever get arrested and are facing criminal charges, this can be a devastating time of your life.  No one hopes to wake up in the morning with a massive legal problem such as this.  There is so much you need to know and no place to turn for answers.  That is, not until now.  The author is a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who has written this article from his vast experience to guide you through your time in the criminal justice system.  His helpful advice will guide you through the process whether you are in jail or out on bond.


Trying to understand and cope with the entire process leading up to your jury trial can be more than overwhelming at times.  The information presented here can help you deal with the inevitable stress of the Justice System.  The goal of the author is to share his vast experience to help you overcome your fears. 

You have a constitutional right to silence in the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Never give a written or verbal statement to the police.  Their job is to get you talking.  If you volunteer to speak to anyone, you waive your right to silence and what you say to them will be admitted into evidence in front of the jury at trial.  

When you get to the jail everyone in there will ask you one question, "What are you in for?"  Do not talk to them about the facts of your case.  The other inmates are facing their own serious charges.  If you talk to them, they may inform the prosecutor and become a witness against you.  That might earn them probation for informing against you.  That is known as "substantial assistance." 

Let me tell you a story about Andrew who lost his case because of jail inmates who sought to perform substantial assistance just to benefit themselves.  Andrew was arrested for premeditated murder.  While in the county jail, two inmates tried to get him talking about his case after they saw the story on the local T.V and read articles in the newspaper.  Unfortunately, Andrew discussed his case with them.  Of course, the inmates contacted the State Attorney's Office.  They gave recorded statements that appeared to reflect Andrew's confession to the murder.

At Andrew's trial, one inmate testified that Andrew told him that he had broken into a friend's apartment looking for money and drugs.  When she woke up and discovered Andrew there, she began screaming and went for the phone to call the police.  Andrew sought to stop her by force.  This testimony was the basis of the State's argument that Andrew had killed the victim in order to avoid arrest.  This aggravated the sentence to the death penalty.  Andrew has been on Death-Row for 18 years.  The jail inmate had his own sentence reduced from 10 years prison to probation because of his substantial assistance in helping to convict Andrew.  [The facts of this case were adapted from a real death penalty case that the author has been litigating for 11 years on the capital collateral appeals.  The author did not represent Andrew at trial or on his direct appeal.]

Your discussions over the jail phone can be overheard by the other inmates.  Be careful not to talk to your family or friends about the facts of your case.  The State is going to reward the other inmates for what they hear you say.  In addition, you do not want to make your family and friends witnesses against you. 

While out on bond, make sure you don't get into any further trouble with the law while your case is pending.  If you have driver license problems correct them or don't drive.  Read and follow the terms of the bond (no alcohol or firearms, etc.).  Be on time and don't miss any Court hearings or you could be arrested.  If you get arrested on another charge, the State will revoke your bond and hold you in jail until your trial is completed.  

Whether you are in jail or out on bond, the day of your jury trial is approaching so, hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer and let him investigate the facts and evidence and prepare your Defense. 


For more helpful information on success strategies for a person charged with a crime, contact

Ira Still, Esquire
Web:           http://www.istilldefendliberty.com/
Info Blog:     http://istilldefendliberty.blogspot.com/

Ira Still has been a criminal defense trial lawyer in Florida for over 30 years.  He successfully represents his clients on all crimes and in all courts.  Ira has had many, many jury trials and is well known in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale as a very successful trial and appellate lawyer. He has argued death penalty collateral appeals in the Florida Supreme Court and in various District Courts of Appeal.  He has filed briefs in the United States Supreme Court.  Ira has tried high profile cases such as police shooting the wrong person; persons charged with shooting police; capital murder and capital sexual battery; violent crimes; drug trafficking; and virtually every other criminal charge.  Ira is also an author, speaker, teacher, mentor and coach.

© 2009 Law Offices of Ira Still