If you were arrested in Florida, you likely would have to appear in front of a judge at least once. You could either be released on your own recognizance (ROR) after arrest, released on bail, or held in jail until your court date. While waiting for your first appearance, you should hire a Florida criminal defense attorney to explain your next steps after an arrest.
Appearing in Court After Your Arrest
You will be notified of your court dates through the mail at your residential address. Unless your attorney files a waiver of your appearance, you must appear at your appointed court session. Failure to appear can result in re-arrest, forfeit of the bond money posted for your release, and other consequences.
The number of court appearances may vary but usually include:
- First appearance. Okaloosa County judges typically hold First Appearance hearings via video calls. Your attorney will be at one end with the judge, and you will be on the other. The charges against you may be revoked if the judge finds a lack of proof that you were involved in committing a crime. This results in no-file of the charges against you, and you will be released. However, your case can always be picked back up. In Florida, the state has 90 days to reinstate charges for a misdemeanor offense and 180 days to reinstate felony charges.
- Arraignment. Arraignment, or plea day, might be the first time you step inside the courtroom. At this time, the state will list the charges that have been filed against you, and you will be expected to enter a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty to the charges. If you plead not guilty, the judge sets the next pre-trial date.
- Conferences and hearings. There is no set number of appearances in a trial, and it's never a good idea to represent yourself. Representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney is your best chance at making the best plea at your arraignment, getting the charges against you dropped, and minimizing the impact of an offense.
Contact an Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.