Arrest – If arrested Florida requires that you be brought before a judge within 24 hours for First Appearance.
First Appearance – is where the judge determines if there was probable cause for your arrest.
If the judge determines there was probable cause the judge will then set a bond.
The judge may:
- Release you on your own recognizance.
- Order Pre-trial Release: certain conditions are imposed and monitored by the Pre-trial Release Program while the case is pending. If you receive Pre-trial Release you must check in with the program office upon your release from jail. Failure to do so can result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. You would then be held without bond until your case is resolved. In Bay County the Pre-trial Release Program is located across the street from the courthouse.
- Monetary Bond: (a) Cash Bond – entire bond amount posted by individual that is returnable at completion of the case. (b) Surety Bond – contacting a bail bond agency who usually requires 10% of the bond amount to be paid to them (this amount is the bondsman’s fee and is not returned). The bondman’s may also require some form of collateral (ex. car title).
- A judge can hold an individual without bond in certain circumstances. (ex. serious crimes, violation of probation, arrest on new charges while out on bond, sex offender status).
Arraignment – After first appearance the court will set another court date. That court date is an arraignment date.
What happens at an arraignment? The state makes a determination if they plan to proceed forward with the charges. The State may: (a) Dismiss charges; (b) Increase the charges; (c) File more charges or (d) File reduced charges.
The State in circuit court is required to file a formal information informing the defendant of the facts constituting the charged offense(s). If the State chooses to file formal charges then a plea of guilty or not guilty is required. If a plea of guilty is entered then the case is over and a sentence is imposed. If a plea of not guilty is entered then the case will be continued to another court docket usually referred to as a Pre-trial Conference or Case Management docket. The Pre-trial or Case Management is basically a status check on the progress of the case. The Court determines where the State and Defense are in the discovery process. After discovery is complete the case will be set for trial.
A bench warrant or capias can be issued in various situations when the Court is trying to get someone to come to court. In some instances you may have missed a court date, and as a result a Judge will probably issue a bench warrant. Depending on the type of case, your ties to the area, and your criminal history, a bench warrant amount can vary from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. If you have a pending case and you missed court, it is crucial that you call our office and schedule an appointment to speak with us. In some instances we may be able to get the bench warrant set aside and get the case set back on the docket. There are other times when you may need to turn yourself in to answer to the charges. In addition, a Judge will often suspend your license for failing to show up in court (called a D-6). That will often lead to a law enforcement officer justifiably pulling you over. That will lead to the discovery of the outstanding warrant. Each situation is very different and individualized attention is necessary for your individual case.
There are times that you may be facing an arrest capias. An arrest capias occurs in two different situations. In the first scenario, a law enforcement officer fills out a probable cause affidavit or police report that is then forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office. The assistant State Attorney then files an “information” or charging document that alleges that you violated a Florida Statute. In the second scenario, the law enforcement officer goes directly to the Judge and gets an order directing that you be arrested. That order is then entered by the clerk’s office in the county in which you are alleged to have committed the crime. Once that information is entered into the Statewide criminal justice system, any state law enforcement officer can arrest you if they come into contact with you. Call us to see if we can help get your case on the docket.