Criminal Court Appearances

Posted about 5 years ago. Applies to Florida, 2 helpful votes



Initial Appearance

After an arrest, you will be seen by a neutral judge within 24 hours who will provide you with the information relating to the charge(s), whether ther exists probable cause for you to be held, whether you are bondable and if so the amount and information relating to your next court date. This is called the Initial Appearance.



The first true court appearance is called Arraignment. This is hearing requires your appearance if you are unrepresented by a attorney. The purpose of the arraignment is to inform you of the formal charge, provide you with a copy of the charging document and have you enter one of three pleas; guilty, no contest or not guilty. A guilty (admission) or no contest (neither admit nor deny) plea will result in you being sentenced immediately without consultation with a defense attorney. The sentence will be imposed based on input from both you and the State Attorney. A not guilty plea will result in you being re-docketed at which time you will ordinarilly retain a attorney.


Pre-Trial Conference

If you enter a plea of not guilty at arraignment, the judge will set your case for a Pre-Trial Conference at which time you will appear with your attorney to have your case pre tried. Between the arraingment date and the pre-trial conference date, the State Attorney will usually provide evidence to your attorney along with a plea offer. Many cases are resolved by negotiated plea at this date.



If your attorney announces ready for trial at the pre-trial conference, your case will be scheduled for trial (usually jury) at some point in the future.

Additional Resources

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Related Topics

Criminal defense

Criminal law establishes the classifications of crimes, how guilt or innocence is determined, and the types of punishment or rehabilitation that may be imposed.

Criminal court

A criminal court tries only criminal offenses, such as theft, assault and battery, or drug possession. Civil courts handle civil cases, such as lawsuits.

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