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Criminal Defense Attorney Tampa: What is a lineup?

Tampa criminal defense attorneys are often asked by their clients what is a lineup and what exactly one entails. A lineup is a technique used by police in a criminal investigation where the witness to a crime, often the victim, will be asked to identify the person that committed the crime out of a row of individuals brought before the witness that fit the description of the suspect. For example, if the alleged perpetrator had red hair, the other suspects should have red hair or the validity of the lineup can be challenged. The witness observes the members of the lineup from behind a one-way mirror. The lineup typically happens after charges are filed but before the start of trial. In order to reduce the chance of a false identification, the individuals in the lineup may be required to wear the same clothes as the suspect was at the time of the crime or recite a certain phrase used by the suspect. For example, they may be required to say something like “give me all your money.”

Prior to filing formal charges or issuing an indictment, the presence of a counsel is not required for the suspect asked to appear in the lineup. During “critical stages” of the prosecution the individual under arrest or charged with a crime has the right to have an attorney present during the lineup to ensure the individual’s rights are not violated during the conducting of the lineup. The presence of an attorney also ensures that other Due Process violations do not occur such as an unnecessarily suggestive identification process or there is a substantial likelihood of misidentification, like all women in the lineup and except for one man. Obviously it is necessary to utilize an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected at this stage.

If you or someone you know is being asked to appear in a lineup then please contact the Tampa criminal attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. We have handled thousands of cases throughout the Tampa Bay Area and will make sure the lineup is conducted properly and in accordance with your constitutionally protected rights. As you can imagine, it is far more difficult to challenge an improper identification at a lineup after it occurs, rather than challenging it at that time. If you would like to contact one of our Tampa criminal attorneys immediately, please use the “contact us now” tab in the upper right hand corner of our website. We appreciate your time in checking out our Tampa criminal attorney blog and look forward to working with you.