Florida Arrest and Criminal Procedure

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Criminal Procedure After A Florida Arrest

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The Law Offices of Salnick & Fuchs P.A.

The Florida criminal procedure officially starts when one is arrested. An arrest takes place either by way of a physical arrest or when a notice to appear has been issued by law enforcement. As a citizen of the United States, you are presumed innocent until the Government proves you are guilty. This process is new to many and can be very intimidating without competent representation. For over 30 years, the Law Offices of Salnick & Fuchs, P.A. has exclusively handled criminal defense cases.

Florida Arrest and Notice To Appear

The Florida Criminal Procedure

In the State of Florida, you can be arrested one of two ways: One is to be physically arrested and brought to the county jail. The other way is to be issued a notice to appear, which is given by a law enforcement officer in lieu of a physical arrest. The latter requires a person accused of violating the law to appear in a designated court at a specified date and time. Under criminal procedure, the notice to appear is still an “arrest” even though the person is not physically brought to the county jail. Once physically arrested and brought to the county jail, you will appear before a judge within 24 hours for what is called First Appearance.

First Appearance

In accordance to Florida criminal procedure, every arrested person shall be taken before a Judge within 24 hours of their arrest. At First Appearance, the Judge informs the arrestee of the charges they are facing, ensures they have legal counsel and determines conditions of pretrial release including bail.

What Is Nebbia Hold?

At First Appearance in State Court, either the Government can request or the Judge can add this condition to bond. A Nebbia hold allows the court to inquire into the source of funds used for the bond. This is often seen in Drug Trafficking or Fraud cases. In these cases, the defendant must show that the funds to be used for bail are from a legitimate source. It must be demonstrated that they were not acquired through illegal activities, or from the profits of a crime such as drug trafficking, money laundering, theft or fraud.

Arraignment

The accused, also known as the defendant, is formally presented with the charges the Government has brought against them. This is where a plea of not guilty is entered which moves the case forward, eventually getting to trial. A plea of guilty at arraignment will result in the case ending and proceeding to sentencing.

Plea Bargaining

This is where the defense and the Government try to come to acceptable terms of a resolution short of trial. This may occur any time after arraignment. Once a plea is accepted, the need for a trial is eliminated.

Trial

After a plea of not guilty is entered at arraignment, your case will eventually proceed to trial once all the investigation is done. This includes taking depositions of essential witnesses, listing witnesses if applicable (including experts), and hiring an investigator. Every case is unique, with its own specific set of facts, and will be strategically prepared by your defense team. A jury trial begins with the jury selection process, followed by opening statements, direct and cross examination, closing arguments and then jury deliberations. During deliberations, juries consisting of 6 or 12 members of the public (depending on the charge) decide whether or not the Government has met their burden of proving the charged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The vote of the jury must be unanimous, which means all 6 or 12 jurors must agree on the same outcome. After deliberation, if the verdict is not guilty, the defendant goes home. If the verdict is guilty, a sentencing date will be scheduled for the court to determine the appropriate sanction. Many times, after a guilty verdict, an accused is remanded (taken into) the custody of the Sheriff’s Office until sentencing.

Questions About The Criminal Procedure After A Florida Arrest?

Contact The Best Criminal Defense Law Firm

Whether you have been charged with DUI or are under investigation for a serious felony offense in a state or federal court anywhere in Florida, make your first decision the right one. Call the Law Offices of Salnick & Fuchs today.

We offer an initial consultation with an experienced lawyer at no cost. We make ourselves available to meet with you at our West Palm Beach, Florida, law firm, at the courthouse or other location, depending upon your circumstances.

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What Is A Felony?

What is a felony? A felony is a crime which is punishable by the possibility of more than one year imprisonment in the Florida Department of Corrections. The degree of felony will dictate the maximum possible sentence. Below are the maximum penalties for all types of felonies in Florida:

Capital Felony: Death or Life imprisonment without parole
Life Felony: Life in prison
First Degree Felony: maximum penalty is 30 years
Second Degree Felony: maximum penalty is 15 years
Third Degree Felony: maximum penalty is 5 years

What Is A Misdemeanor?

What is a misdemeanor? A Misdemeanor is a crime which is punishable by the possibility of no more than one year in the County Jail. The degree of misdemeanor will dictate the maximum possible sentences. Below are the maximum penalties and fines for both types of misdemeanors:

First Degree Misdemeanor: 364 days and $1,000.00 fine
Second Degree Misdemeanor: 60 days and $500.00 fine

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