In Broward County will your first appearance will occur before an assigned judge the following morning after an arrest is made.
This gives the defendant to a criminal action and opportunity to appear with their attorney and address issues such as bond release and future court dates. In most cases, the next scheduled court appearance will be for an arraignment. Your appearance at arraignment may not be necessary where private counsel is retained to represent your defense. This is because it is common practice for Florida criminal defense attorneys to file written pleas of not guilty on behalf of their clients.
Written pleas of not guilty
Public defenders generally do not file written please as they have not been assigned to indigent cases at this phase in the Florida criminal justice system. Where private counsel is retained however, criminal defendants generally have the luxury of avoiding this court appearance. Always check with your kernel defense attorney in order to determine if you must attend an Arraignment. Never assume that you do not have to appear in criminal court.
The filing of a written plea of not guilty by your attorney will obviate the need for even conducting an arraignment hearing in most cases. Exceptions exist where issues pertaining to re-addressing bond and/or charge changes will however, require a defendant's appearance regardless of whether or not a written plea was filed on their behalf. Defendants should always know well in advance the time and place of all criminal hearings scheduled in their case.
Pretrial process and procedure
Every action taken between the time that you enter your appearance and the trial is known as the pretrial process or pretrial procedure. As the criminal litigation ensues, many forms of motions may be filed either on your behalf or against you. Criminal defense attorneys should always schedule and attend regular meetings with their clients to keep them fully apprised of what is happening in their case.
Should you ever be unsure as to your future location and time of any court appearance in your case and are unable to get in touch with your lawyer, you may contact any of our office locations and we will look up the case information for you.