How can you represent bad people? A friend of mine at my church came up
and asked me that exact question. I answered him, “I don’t
represent bad people. I represent people in bad situations.” All
of us at one point in our lives need somebody who will stand up and help
out. All of us sometimes need someone to fight for us. That is what I do.
Just because someone accuses you of a crime, that does not make you a bad
person, and it certainly does not make you guilty of that crime. Anyone
of us could be placed in a situation where a police officer is questioning
or even accusing us ofcommitting a crime. In my sixteen years of practicing
criminal defense, I have seen officers questioning clients at their homes,
their jobs, or even on the side of the road after a traffic stop.
In the State of Florida, it takes very little for a police officer to arrest
you. All they need is probable cause. Probable cause is the standard by
which a police officer may make an arrest, obtain a warrant, or conduct
a search of you or your property. This is almost the lowest standard in
the criminal system, and it is very easy for a police officer to obtain.
The United States Supreme Court, in 1968, stated in Terry v. Ohio, that
seizures may be made in cases where the officer has reasonable cause to
believe a crime has been committed or soon will be committed. In 1983
the Court lowered the threshold in Illinois v. Gates, by ruling that a
“substantial chance” or “fair probability” of
criminal activity could establish probable cause. That means that a better
than fifty percent chance is not required. So if just one officer, just
one, reasonably believes a crime has been committed and believes you did
it, you can be searched and arrested.
What my friend at church seemed to forget is that good people can make
mistakes, and good people can be accused of something they didn’t
do. I have represented many people who did nothing wrong, or who did something
that they didn’t know was illegal. I have also represented many
people whose actions did not result in the way they intended. Many of
them are good people. Good people that made a bad decision or found themselves
in a bad situation.
Our forefathers understood what they were doing when they created this
country. They understood that freedom is necessary for democracy. They
understood the way that other governments had repressed the people they
were meant to protect. The Constitution of the United States of America
and the Constitution of Florida are well thought out rights, rules and
principles. They are not a bunch of technicalities. They are not documents
created for the purpose of letting criminals walk all over our streets.
These are important laws created to make sure that each one of us is allowed
to live our own life free of government intrusion. These are important
laws that enable us to be a great free society. These are important right
written for you.
Keep in mind that some people who are accused of a crime are truly not
guilty. So, don’t let somebody tell you, if you are not guilty that
you do not need an attorney. That statement is not true. I’ve seen
more clients hurt themselves because they trusted people who were not
looking out for their best interest. The police officer, or friend, they
trusted were not attorneys. It’s the police officer’s job
is to investigate and build a case in a criminal prosecution. It is your
attorney’s job is to protect you.
All of us, whether we are right or wrong, want a lawyer that is going to
fight as hard as possible for us. If you didn’t do anything wrong
and are being questioned, then you need an attorney to protect you. If
you think you may have done something wrong, then you need a criminal
defense attorney to make sure your constitutional rights are protected.
The people I represent are not all bad people. I have the honor and privilege
of assisting people in their time of need. I am able to help them, as
an advocate, a counselor and a guide through our criminal justice system.
Hopefully, I am able to help them out of their bad situations.