First Appearance

florida court procedure

Law enforcement officials have the right to detain or arrest individuals they believe to have played a role in committing a crime. Immediately following the arrest, the officer must recite your Miranda rights as failing to do so can result in a judge deeming any things said to the police as inadmissible evidence. Once transported to the jail, you will go through the booking process where you will be fingerprinted, photographed, and officially entered into the police database, then transported to your holding cell.

Florida law requires that you see a judge within 24 hours of your arrest. This part of the judicial process is the first appearance and can occur in-person or via digital means. During that 24-hour period, it may be important you secure legal counsel who can represent you during the first appearance and all ensuing court hearings. The Orlando criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are here to provide you with staunch legal representation against all presented charges in your criminal case.

What Occurs During the First Appearance

The first appearance is a relatively short encounter with the judge, but the law requires that every arrested person have one. The following occurs during the first appearance:

  • You are informed of all charges you face
  • You receive a copy of the complaint
  • You are made aware of your right to counsel and right to communicate with counsel, friends, and family
  • The judge sets conditions of release if any

If you want an attorney but cannot afford one, the judge will appoint one for you by the time of the first appearance. If you can and want to hire a lawyer or have already retained one, the judge must provide a reasonable period for you to send for your attorney. You can also request for a message to be passed on to a named lawyer; however, if the postponement resulting from the request is likely to have you remain in custody longer than 24 hours, the judge can appoint a lawyer to your case for the first appearance.

Setting Bail and Conditions of Release

As a part of the first appearance, the judge will review all of the relevant factors to determine the conditions of release. In deciding pretrial release on bond or other conditions, the judge can take into account the severity of the charges you face and other factors including:

  • Family ties
  • Employment history
  • Past and present conduct (convictions, failure to appear, etc.)
  • Potential danger you pose to the community
  • Financial resources
  • Mental health

If the judge decides to set a monetary bail, he or she must set the bail amount for each charge or offense individually. Once the bail is posted, a separate bond is required for each charge or offense. In regards to the conditions of bail, the judge has a few options to choose from according to Florida Rule 3.131 (b):

  • Personal recognizance of the defendant
  • Execution of unsecured appearance bond in an amount specified by the judge
  • Placement of restrictions on the travel, association, or place of abode of the defendant during the period of release
  • Placement of the defendant in custody of a designated person or organization agreeing to supervise the defendant
  • Execution of a bail bond with sufficient solvent sureties, or the deposit of cash in lieu thereof
  • Any other condition deemed reasonably necessary to assure appearance as required, including a condition requiring that the person return to custody after specified hours

Upon your arrest, waste little time in securing the legal services of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in your area. The Orlando criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm can make you aware of your likelihood of getting a nonmonetary bail, further explain the conditions of release, and represent you throughout the legal process. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.