FAQs Surrounding Court Dates in Florida
Anyone that is accused of a criminal offense may have to attend a number of court hearings, whether you have been charged with a DUI or possession of marijuana. It is important to understand the hearings you may have to attend, and what will happen at each of them. Depending on the severity of your charges, your criminal history, and more, below are some of the most important court dates in criminal cases so you know what to expect.
A First Appearance
A first appearance is just that. It is your first appearance in court and it typically occurs within 24 hours after your arrest. During this hearing, it is determined whether a police officer had probable cause to arrest you and, depending on the nature of the charges, a judge may also set your bond. If the judge does not believe there was probable cause for your arrest, they may release you on your own recognizance (ROR). Bond is set if the judge determines there is probable cause and they may also ask for a 24-hour continuance to support finding that there was probable cause.
At the arraignment, you will appear in front of a judge and hear the charges the prosecution is laying against you. You can offer your plea, whether it is ‘guilty,’ ‘not guilty,’ or ‘no contest.’ The arraignment is not the time or the place to argue your case, and if you hire a criminal defense lawyer, they may get the arraignment waived altogether.
The Pre-Trial Conference
The pre-trial conference may also be called case management, status conference, or motion and docket day, but the purpose remains the same. The pre-trial conference is a chance for your attorney and the prosecution to clear up any legal issues, such as if there is a problem with discovery and if depositions will take place. During the pre-trial conference, different motions are also heard, such as a motion to dismiss or a motion to suppress. These will determine how and if your case will move forward.
If the prosecution offers you a deal and you accept, you will have a plea hearing. At this time, you may plead guilty in exchange for a lower charge, or change your plea from a prior one. Once you submit a plea, the judge will tell you of any rights you are waiving, and ask if you plead freely.
If your case proceeds to trial, the lawyers from each side will start jury selection. During this time, each lawyer can ask jurors questions while looking for biases that could affect their decision. Each attorney can make peremptory challenges that allows them to remove potential jurors for any reason, but they also each have a limited amount.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Florida Can Help Throughout Your Case
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, our Port St. Lucie criminal defense lawyers at Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. can help you through the process. We know your rights, will ensure they are upheld, and give you the best chance of beating your charges. Call us today at 772-905-8692 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.