Crime & Law Enforcement Issues & Death Penalty/assault/aggr asslt/attmpt murder


Hi! I am in the process of writing a novel and was wanting to clarify a few things that are happening in the book. This is a very small event in the book, but I do want my facts correct.

An off-duty detective came across a man assaulting someone and the assailant had a gun drawn at the time. The detective came to the rescue, subdued the guy and called for LEOs to assist. The guy was arrested and they are going to charge him with... assault? aggravated assault? attempted murder? He won't talk in interrogation, so his motives are unknown to everyone but myself right now.
Also... what point are charges actually brought on someone?
And if he's in the holding cell after his interrogation (which, of course, yielded nothing) and managed to kill himself (his motive for that is only known to me, as well), what happens after that?

Any help would be appreciated! Thank you in advance! :)

As for charges it would ultimately be the prosecutors call. Typically the prosecutor wants the police to initially charge them with the most severe crime (attempted murder) and then the prosecutor will try and plead it down to a lower crime (aggravated assault). In Fl aggravated assault is threatening someone with a deadly weapon. In this instance based on the facts you presented....I suspect if it went to trial the charge would be aggravated assault.

The charges would be made at the time of the arrest; however, once charged that would also be when speedy trial starts. That means in Fl unless he waves his right to a speedy trial, his trial has to begin in 180 days. In most cases speedy trial is waved by a defendant so his lawyer has ample to to prepare a defense.

As for killing himself...there would be a separate internal investigation to determine the cause and did the officers fail to follow policy and or seize anything that he could have use to kill himself such as a belt that he could hang himself with. In theory if an officer placed him in a cell and did not thoroughly search him for weapons and take his belt, shoe strings, etc., the officer could be disciplined.

Hope this helps

Crime & Law Enforcement Issues & Death Penalty

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Philip Sweeting


Can answer questions concerning police procedures and accepted police practices, specifically : arrest, use of force, internal affairs, recruitment and hiring, constitutional rights and accreditation.


Have over 26 years of Law Enforcement experience eight of which have been as Deputy Chief of Police. Have worked for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, CALEA, as a team leader, evaluating police agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada. Have a BS degree in Political Science, a graduate of Northwestern University's School of Police Staff and Command, and the Senior Management Institute for Police conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum, PERF. Have consulted and testified for both plaintiff and defense attorneys as an expert witness. WEB:

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