West Palm Beach & Palm City Criminal Defense FAQs
What should I do if I am under investigation or contacted by the police?
You have absolutely no obligation to speak with the police. More importantly, you should never speak to the police under any circumstances and you should contact Criminal Defense Attorney Wayne Richter in West Palm Beach or Palm City immediately.
What will happen if I am arrested?
You will either be taken to the police station or the county jail, where you may be questioned and then booked in on whatever charge you were arrested for. The booking process includes, among other things, having your fingerprints taken, your booking photo (mugshot) taken and your criminal history, if any, will be obtained. If the police attempt to question you, be polite, request Attorney Wayne Richter and do not answer any questions.
Will I get out jail if I am arrested?
Yes, unless you are charged with a crime of violence, a capital crime or a crime punishable by life imprisonment. Otherwise, for most crimes, you will be released on a pre-determined bond. Violent crimes, capital crimes, and crimes punishable by life imprisonment will require an appearance before a first-appearance judge who will determine whether to set bond and in what amount. If you do not post bond, or your offense requires a first appearance hearing in front of a judge, you will be brought before a judge within 24 hours of your arrest, including weekends and holidays. Bonds are generally not set for probation violations, but a bond hearing can likely be held before the judge that sentenced you to probation.
How do I post bond?
A bond, also referred to as a bail bond, may be posted in two different ways. One, the full amount of the bond can be posted with the sheriff’s office, or two, you can hire a bail bondsman who will post your bond for a fee in lieu of you paying the full bond amount. For example, if your bond is set at $5,000.00, you, a family member, or a friend can pay $5,000.00 to the sheriff and you will then be released from jail. Upon the conclusion of your case, your money will be returned to you in-full as long as you did not miss any court appearances. Alternatively, you can hire a bail bondsman who will post your bond for a 10% non-refundable fee. In the example used here, you would pay $500.00 to the bail bondsman, he will then post the remainder of the bond of your behalf, and you will be released from jail.
What should I do after I am released from jail?
You should immediately call Attorney Wayne Richter and schedule a free initial consultation. At the consultation I will review your police report; I will help you obtain a better understanding of your charges; and I will explain your legal rights and the possible defenses to your particular case.
What happens with my case after I am arrested?
Just because you have been arrested, it does not mean you have been charged with a crime. In Florida, neither the police nor the alleged victim press charges. The police will present whatever evidence they possess to the state attorney’s office and the decision whether charges will ultimately be filed rests solely with the prosecutor. Hiring Wayne Richter immediately after your arrest could result in formal charges not being filed or a reduction in the number and severity of the charges.
When will I have to go to Court?
The first court date is called an Arraignment and generally occurs thirty days after an arrest. An arraignment is a preliminary hearing to formally advise you of the charges being alleged by the state. At arraignment, the judge will also ask you whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty to the charge(s) and whether you have an attorney. Most often, a plea of not guilty should be entered unless some other resolution, for strategic reasons, has been reached between your attorney and the prosecutor. With only a few exceptions, after your hire Wayne Richter the arraignment is waived and a court appearance is not required.For misdemeanor cases, your appearance at future court appearances can be waived by filing a written waiver with the court. However, with few exceptions, you must appear in court for all hearings on felony cases.
Does it really make a difference which attorney I hire?
Yes. Without a doubt, which attorney you decide to hire can make every difference in your case. Not all attorneys are equally experienced, prepared, skilled or dedicated to their client. To Wayne Richter you are not simply some name and case number on a file. Wayne takes every case he handles seriously and is readily available to his clients to answer any questions or address any concerns they might have. Wayne has exclusively practiced criminal defense for over a decade and knows this area of the law well.
How much does it cost to hire a private criminal defense attorney?
The truth is, it depends on many factors. Those factors include how many times you have been arrested, whether the case is a felony or misdemeanor, the complexity of the case, and among other things, the level of experience of the attorney. Attorney’s fees can be best determined by scheduling a free consultation, or case evaluation, with my office.
Am I eligible to have my arrest record sealed or expunged?
In order to qualify for a record expungement, your case must have either never been filed by the state attorney’s office, or it must have been dismissed by the state attorney’s office. Additionally, you must not have any prior criminal convictions. In order to qualify for a record sealing, you must not have received an adjudication of guilt on your case and you must not have any prior criminal convictions.