If you are arrested for an alleged violation of a Florida criminal law,
there are a few things you should know. First, don’t panic. Not
all is lost. You have many rights that will protect you from being illegally
held in jail without release. Ultimately, your rights will also help ensure
that you are not wrongly convicted.
You will most likely be given an affordable bond that can be posted once
you are booked. If an affordable bond amount is set, you should post it
and get out of jail. You may either post the full cash bond (which will
be returned to you upon conclusion of your case) or use a bondsman to
post it for you. A bondsman will charge you a fee of at least 10% of your
bond amount. Once the bond is posted you will be processed out and usually
released from booking within a few hours.
If you use the jail telephones or have visitors at the jail, be careful
what you say – you are being recorded!
Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer:
Upon release, you should start looking for a criminal defense attorney
to represent you in your case as soon as possible. Longwell Lawyers offers
experienced criminal defense representation for all misdemeanor and felony
criminal charges in Florida.
If you are not given a bond, or your bond is too high, or you are not otherwise
released within 24 hours of your arrest, you must be brought before a
judge for a first or initial appearance. The judge will conduct a non-adversarial
review of the court file to determine whether probable cause exists to
hold you on the charge. If there is not sufficient probable cause, you
will be released on your own recognizance pending the outcome of the case.
If there is probable cause, the judge will determine bond/release conditions.
If you are still not released, your attorney will seek a bond hearing and
seek to have the bond amount reduced or set. At the same time, your attorney
may be advocating for you to the prosecutor in an effort to get your charges
dropped or minimized.
If you are still not released and held without charge for 21 days, your
attorney may seek an adversarial probable cause hearing. This will require
the State to establish probable cause by presenting evidence to the court
under the scrutiny of your attorney. If probable cause is not established
at this hearing, you will be released.
After 33 days, if you are still held without formal charge, the court must
release you, unless the State gains an extension of time to 40 days. At
40 days, you must be released if not charged.
What Will Be The Outcome Of Your Case?
Do not assume you will get convicted or sentenced. Your attorney may be
able to get your case dropped or dismissed. Or, you may be found not guilty
after a jury trial. Or, your attorney may be able to resolve your case
through negotiating a plea bargain. Your attorney will prepare your case
for trial by scrutinizing all of the State’s evidence and witnesses
through discovery and depositions and by gathering your evidence and witnesses
and preparing your defenses. Your attorney will be prepared to give you
the best chance of a dismissal or acquittal in your case by seeking to
suppress the State’s evidence if appropriate or by having your case
dismissed through pre-trial motions before your case ever gets to trial.
Ultimately, your attorney may represent you at a jury trial and require
the State to try to prove your case with admissible evidence that must
unanimously convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a tough
burden that represents our judicial system’s strong principle that
an accused is presumed innocent and cannot easily have his or her liberty
In conclusion, if you are arrested…don’t panic. By hiring
an experienced criminal defense attorney you may exercise your rights
to ensure that you are treated fairly.