Criminal Defense

What To Expect At Your First Appearance In Florida

By
Gregory Salnick
on
September 18, 2019

Are you imagining about your first appearance in front of a judge in Florida? It can definitely be a terrifying experience. No matter the charge or the ultimate reason for setting foot in front of the bar, seeing the wooden bench and a judge at the top wearing a black robe will likely be one of the more traumatizing moments of your life. So, what should you expect?

Are you imagining about your first appearance in front of a judge in Florida? It can definitely be a terrifying experience. No matter the charge or the ultimate reason for setting foot in front of the bar, seeing the wooden bench and a judge at the top wearing a black robe will likely be one of the more traumatizing moments of your life. So, what should you expect?

The Timeline Of My First Appearance

Get ready for a whirlwind. Your initial appearance can be one of the most terrifying experiences of your life; however, it may also be the most important for the success of your case. The appearance will almost certainly vary depending on the jurisdiction; however, in Florida it will likely last around ten to fifteen minutes.

Generally, you are required to be before a judge in twenty-four hour of the time you are arrested. Let’s be honest, that does not always happen – especially if your arrest happens over a holiday or a weekend, but as a general rule go expect a quick twenty-four hours to anticipate your bond hearing. As a criminal defendant, you should hire a seasoned criminal defense attorney regardless of whether you are innocent. Your first appearance in court sets the tone for the entire case. Having representation ahead of time could make a difference in the overall outcome.

At the hearing, you will be informed of your charge and the complaint that has been provided against you. Unless you believe it to be in your best interest, do not confess to an alleged crime at a first appearance or during interrogation. A local Florida criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you further.

Are You Represented By A Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you can’t afford a private criminal defense attorney, there are options. Did you know that you are entitled to representation at the earliest possible moment? For many, that means at the first appearance. The judge determines that you are entitled to a court-appointed attorney, and you choose to accept a court-appointed attorney, you are entitled to representation. Be sure to know your rights under Florida law regarding whether you qualify for public defender in Florida. An appointed attorney could be your first step at a successful progression of your case; however, know that you are not required to accept an appointed attorney.

First and foremost, know that an appointed attorney for your first appearance is just that – your attorney for the first appearance. Unfortunately, many individuals don’t understand this fact because it is not conveyed appropriately – one of the lacking aspects of our judicial system. Your appointed attorney is only your attorney for that specific charge and likely will not represent you in any further proceedings other than that particular charge.

Actions Taken During Your Initial Court Appearance

Generally, an initial court appearance will only consist of a few things that varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. You can likely expect the following:

You Will Know Your Rights: You will be told of your right to counsel as said above. If you are accused of a felony, you will be informed of your right to a preliminary hearing.

Your Bail Will Be Set: The judge will set your bail based on your charge and your previous criminal history.

Quick Tips For Your First Appearance:

It’s natural to be nervous! Be confident.
Be polite. The judge controls your destiny. No sense in getting mad. Share your thoughts with your attorney. Every answer should be “Yes your Honor” or “No your Honor.”
Understand that bail does not mean you are free. You have been granted freedom while your case progresses.

Are You In Need Of A Local Criminal Defense Attorney In Florida?

Are you in need of a local criminal defense attorney in Florida? Contact Salnick & Fuchs today to get the legal help you need. Whether DUI or felony, our firm has the ability and the experience to guide you through the process.

Gregory Salnick

Mr. Salnick is a Florida Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law. He began his legal career at the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office where he prosecuted over 90 jury trials, ranging from DUI to murder, armed robbery and drug trafficking. Mr. Salnick quickly gained a reputation as a tenacious and ethical attorney at law. Mr. Salnick now serves as state and federal criminal defense attorney at Salnick & Fuchs, P.A.

Call Greg Salnick today at
561-471-1000