Basic Differentiation Between Misdemeanors And Felonies In Florida

Interviewer: What are the basic fundamental differences between a misdemeanor or felony? What does that mean to an individual? What's a misdemeanor and what's a felony?

Michael Golub: In the state of Florida, it's really the level of the client and they define clients by what the penalty is really. If you have a second degree misdemeanor which, in the state of Florida, is punishable by up to 60 days jail or $500 fine or both or up to six months' probation. Or you have a first degree misdemeanor which is punishable by $1,000 fine or a year in jail or up to year probation. When it goes into felonies, then it jumps up into the higher level which is basically anywhere from, being a 3rddegree felony which is punishable by 5 years in jail or $5,000 fine or both all the way up to capital and light felonies which are punishable by up to life imprison and or death penalty in certain cases but they're just the much more serious crimes, which are really harder to find you know in terms of what the penalty is.

If Miranda Rights are Not Read then the Case Can't be Dismissed, However Evidence Obtained Might be Suppressed

Interviewer: If someone will not read their Miranda Rights, does that mean the case is going to be automatically dismissed?

Michael Golub: No, it does not. The police are supposed to but there are many times when a person is not read the Miranda Rights. However, what happens then is this: If, a lot of times the police will go and they'll arrest somebody and they'll just take him to jail and they're not going to ask him the questions or anything, they're just doing their job, it's to pick them up and bring them to jail. The risk that the police want into is that if evidence then is brought up, if a person then starts talking to the cops and spills his guts and makes a confession after they're arrested and they haven't been mirandized, then that can be suppressed. So, you know, a lot of times they don't - and it doesn't mean that the case is thrown out but it can mean that evidence is not admissible if evidence is obtained after the arrest and the person hasn't mirandized. So, it's often police do not read people their Miranda Rights but it's not a very good practice for them.

Police Officers Must Have Probable Cause in Order to Conduct a Search

Interviewer: Do Police Officers ever conduct Illegal search and seizures?

Michael Golub: Yes, sure. They have to have a probable cause, they can't just, walk to somebody's house and walk in and start searching, they have to have probable cause to do that. When you're talking about a residence, you really need to have an actual search warrant typically unless it's an emergency situation but typically, where we find most of the actual searches and seizures are, in vehicle stops. The problem is that a lot of times you'll have factual discrepancies in terms of what actually occurred? In other words, somebody is pulled over and the police will say they smelled Marijuana or something like that and they'll have circumstances to give rise to them searching a vehicle. Sometimes, those circumstances are disputed but typically, it's looked at in the light that's favorable to the law enforcement at that point in time. So, in order to suppress something like that, the facts really have to say that "Hey, they didn't have a reason to search the vehicle". So, a lot of times - it's not very often that that occurs that we can actually suppress that.