Legal Advice from Steven Tinsley

Free Legal Advice from STEVEN R. TINSLEY, ESQ.


1.         If you can get out of jail on your own, then do so without delay.  Do not wait to see the judge.  Frequently, your best bet is to be out of jail when your case is set for Initial Appearance the day (or two) after your arrest.  That hearing provides a great opportunity for the judge to add on a bunch of extra conditions on you before you leave while you stand silently and take it.

            On the other hand, if you post the entire bail bond, you should know that the State of Florida has plans to keep your money.  If you don’t have enough money to post a bond and hire an attorney, you should see the attorney first.   Jail sucks.  Prison sucks a lot more.   As badly as you want to get out, just try and imagine six months, a year or several years on the inside.   Steven Tinsley knows it is easy for your lawyer to say "hire me" before you bond out, but you have to imagine what it is going to feel like going back after you have gotten out.

            If it is after hours or a weekend, call 407-933-2020and leave a message stating that you have an emergency and that you need to see an attorney immediately.  There are many cases where the initial bond is set high and your attorney can be reasonably certain of having it reduced by the judge (although you will need to talk to your lawyer about how long that might take).  There are other types of cases where it is a virtual certainty if the client goes to the Initial Appearance the next day, the judge will increase the bond and heap a load of extra restrictions and conditions on the client.  In that case, the client wants to bond out before that happens.   Talk to a Team lawyer before you decide to wait.

2.         If you cannot get out of jail on your own, you need to have someone contact an attorney for you.  While you are waiting for your family to hire an attorney, there are some basic things you need to know.

    A.    Do not discuss your case over the jail telephone.  Jail telephones are recorded for a reason.  In March of 2010, a lead investigator for the Osceola County Investigative Bureau testified in Circuit Court that he deliberately interviewed a woman who was in jail, just so he could record the subsequent telephone he expected her to make to her boyfriend.  In that case, the investigator was trying to generate evidence against the boyfriend and he was succesful to the tune of 15 years.

    B.    Do not discuss your case with anyone in the jail.  As hard as it is to believe, some of the people in the county jail are not as spiritual or as honest as one would hope.  If you give them details about your case, you might be giving them information which could be woven into a story calculated to help them at your expense.  

    C.     Get the name (and if possible address and phone number) of every person who might have any information about your case.  For example, if someone in the jail heard you when you changed your mind and asked to take the breath test once you got into the jail, your lawyer is going to need to find that person.  You need to get the information and write it down (on your leg if necessary).  It is not unusual for a county jail to have thousands of people in it.  You don’t want your witness to be lost like a needle in a haystack.


             A trial is your opportunity to tell your story.  Good photographs tell a good story.  Poor photographs are merely better than nothing.  Since you are fighting for your freedom, the lawyers at the Tinsley Criminal Defense Team would like you to aim a little higher than “better than nothing”.

     A.    Get professional photographs of the injuries, damages or any other physical evidence that might disappear before you go to trial.  Have those photos taken immediately and then retaken a day or two later when the bruises, cuts, or other injuries have changed in appearance.  Having to go in for three or four different photograph sessions is a good thing regardless of the cost.  Your attorney fees are going to cost you a minimum of a couple thousand dollars.  The photographs will cost you a hundred or two.  Do not let your evidence flow down the drain.  Your life and freedom are in the balance.  Do not cheat yourself.  Injuries will become more brilliant and/or dramatic over time.   No one will care about your memories of those injuries.
      B.   It is very difficult to photograph human skinDo not use your cell phone to photograph your evidence unless you have no other choice (or unless you have some kind of death wish and are having difficutly bringing it to a head).

            Do not use your own camera to photograph your injuries unless you have no other choice.  The Team highly recommends that you use a professional photographer and that you begin getting those photographs the second the client is out of jail.  The photographic studio of Skip Stowers in Kissimmee, Florida, (407-847-5442) charges a very reasonable fee for good quality photographs and they have experience taking evidence photographs.  Do not let your temporary inability to hire an attorney result in the loss of your evidence.

            Call 407-922-2020 for a free consultation on day one and pay for professional photographs starting on day one.  Pay for the additional photographic sessions as needed.  


     Witnesses are worth more than gold.  Like gold, however, you can lose them, and if you do, you will regret it.  Get this right the first time and don't screw it up.

    A.   Get the name, address and telephone number of every person who may have any information about your case.  This includes everybody who saw or heard anything about the case.  Do not let anybody tell you to disregard a possible witness because it is hearsay or for any other reason.  Your attorney will decide whether a witness is valuable or detrimental to your case.
     B.   Don't tell the witness that you are going to give his/her name to your attorney.  Many people will freeze up when told that they may be speaking to a lawyer.  Just tell the witness you need the information in case you have problems in the future.
     C.   It is a major crime to tamper with a witness.  It is a major crime to influence a witness to disregard a subpoena.  The government gets very excited when people tamper with its witnesses or otherwise impede its ability to prosecute a case.  Identify the witnesses to your attorney and then leave the rest to your attorney.
     D.   If your car is totaled, it might be sold and scrapped very quickly.  Get your own photos as soon as possible.  Use a professional photographer, if possible.  Get the photos from every angle, inside and out and from various depths (close up and standing back).  Do not hesitate to take 50 or more photos.  Don't rely on the police photos to tell your story.

     A.   You have to assume that any officer in your presence has a digital high quality recording device built into his/her uniform.  You must also assume that the officer has the ability to turn that recorder off when he/she wants to.  The officer may be recording that portion of the interview he/she feels fit to record and may also be editing the recording by turning the device off at will.  You don’t know what is going on, so fall back on the golden rule, which is: KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!

            Your attorney can almost always get you out of jail (at least on bond) but it takes practically an act of god to put words back in your mouth. You have the right to remain silent and you should exercise it on every occassion.  Tell the officer that you want to speak with an attorney, that you will not speak until you do (other than your name, age, address, etc).


For more information about what to say when you are being investigated by the

police, go to



     B.   You have to assume every police car has high definition digital audio and video recording capability inside and out.  You may very well get to watch a jury at trial as they view your words and actions at roadside.  Act accordingly.  What is just as scary, is the growing trend in some jurisdictions where they are removing video recording equipment out of police cars.  It is beginning to look like some police organizations do not want a verifiable record of the roadside events.
     C.   Everyone knows the rule that says the police have to read you your rights.  It is a virtual certainty that your police officer will be the only one on the scene who knows the ten different legal reasons why he does not have to read you your rights.  Police officers are professionals.  They are not kidding around.  The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that police are allowed to lie and trick people when they are investigating crimes.  Only a fool would gamble his/her freedom by playing games with an expert who also controls the playing field (arrest scene).


 Eventually you are going to have to pull the trigger and decide who will represent your interests in court. Make a second appointment with Steven Tinsley and do the interview again.

     It is important that you start the process as fast as you can. If you need an attorney, then it is likely that you need that attorney quickly.  Ask yourself the following question:  "is this delay going to help me?"  Not having money is clearly an issue, buy what is stopping you from calling for an free consultation?   Delay almost always helps the government since bruises heal, witnesses are lost and memories fade. You do not know how to organize and coordinate an effective and aggressive criminal defense but Steven Tinsley does. Make an appointment. Ask the hard questions, put him on the spot and get started with your defense!