In Florida, a person may be arrested or, in some cases, given a criminal summons to appear in court for arraignment.

If a person is arrested and taken to jail, they may get a Booking Officer Bond or may held for a judge to review the case at First Appearance judge is usually not the same judge who will hear the case.

A Bail Bond will be set at First Appearance unless the person is charged with a capital case, a violation of probation or a violation of community control. In Juvenile Delinquency cases, a bond hearing is held within twenty-four hours of arrest but is called a Detention Review Hearing.

If the person unable to make the bond set or if no bond has been set, then they are entitled to have a Motion to Set or Reduce Bond filed on their behalf.

Arraignment is where the person is formally charged by the State of Florida and the only question the judge will usually want answered is whether the person will plead Not Guilty, No Contest or Guilty. The case will not be tried on this date.

Arraignment Court tends to move quickly, and can be very dangerous for the defendant. Many people just want to get the whole thing over with quickly because the “not knowing what will happen” is driving them crazy. They plead out without a lawyer’s help, miss potential defenses and sometimes fall victim to an unexpected jail or prison sentence.

Arraignment is scheduled several weeks after the initial arrest or summons. A person must attend unless the court permits their attorney to file a Waiver of Arraignment. A Waiver of Arraignment is not allowed in most Juvenile Delinquency cases.

If a Waiver of Arraignment is field, the person is spared the embarrassment of having to appear in front of hundreds of people and being publicly accused in open court.

Along with a Waiver of Arraignment, your attorney can file a Notice of Appearance, a Written Plea of Not Guilty, and a Notice of Discovery. You many have gotten as Arrest Report and/or an Addendum of Probable Cause, but you weren’t given everything and you have a right to know what evidence the State has and whether it is accurate or not.

A Written Plea of Not Guilty can always be changed to one of the other two pleas after the Notice of Discovery has been reviewed by you and your attorney. Your attorney will be familiar with the rules of evidence, the Florida Statutes and what is called the law of the case. This knowledge is used to help you whether you decide to go to trial or settle your case through a plea bargain.

We file those motions even when people think they are guilty for several reasons:

To check the evidence for defenses.

To uncover “hidden defenses” a lay person would not know about.

To prepare for trial and negotiate for a better plea bargain.

To prevent “courthouse surprise” – an unexpected jail or prison sentence.

If you or a loved one has been arrested and/or charged with a crime anywhere in Florida, it is imperative to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to make sure that your rights are fully protected.

Please call Attorney Albert Quirantes (“The Q”) today at 305-644-1800.

The initial consultation is free and we are always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.