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Florida is one of the most populous states in America, which means that each year thousands of people go through the state’s criminal justice system. Some people are quick to equate an arrest to a conviction, but it is important to remember that all criminal defendants have the right to present a defense, including in front of a jury of their peers if they so wish. If one has been arrested and finds themselves in this position, what are the options in the criminal defense process?

Well, for starters, the first step is to evaluate the case and the evidence. What will the prosecution use to attempt to secure a conviction? If the evidence appears to be overwhelming, it may be a good idea to begin exploring plea negotiation options. But, if the evidence is scant or unconvincing, it may be time to start to put together a trial strategy.

At a trial, criminal defendants are oftentimes eager to tell “their side of the story.” In some cases, taking the stand and telling the truth is indeed an effective strategy. But, before taking this step and waiving the constitutional right against being required to testify, defendants should remember that it is the prosecution’s burden to prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Different types of charges will result in different criminal defense strategies, as will the different alleged facts of any given case. Criminal defendants in Florida will need to carefully consider their criminal defense options in the immediate aftermath of an arrest.