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Florida Arrest FAQs

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

September 10, 2020

Getting arrested can be stressful and scary, especially when you are unsure of what will happen next. If you, or a loved one, are worried about dealing with an arrest and the related criminal charges, our criminal defense lawyers have the answers you are looking for.

What Happens After I’m Arrested?

After your arrest, you’ll stay in custody, at least until your first appearance. Your bail is usually set when you go before a judge. A judge may also release you on your own recognizance if it’s your first offense and not considered a danger or a flight risk. Bail is only denied in severe cases.

Since the first appearance before a judge isn’t an arraignment, you don’t need to enter a plea immediately. After you’re arrested in Florida, you must be taken in front of a judge within 24 hours. An initial appearance may occur in person at a courthouse or via a live video from where you’re being held. The judge will inform you of the following:

  • The charges against you.

  • Your right to be represented by an attorney.

  • Your rights regarding external communications.

  • The complaint against you.

  • Conditions for your release if you’re released.

If you can’t afford an attorney for the initial appearance, the judge will appoint one for you. You can send for an attorney of your choice if you have already hired one or keep one on retainer.

Also, the court is required to give you a reasonable amount of time to reach the attorney. This means that if a judge is ready to see you within 10 hours, you can request a postponement while waiting for your attorney’s response. However, the judge can appoint an attorney just for the first appearance if your attorney is unreachable or unable to appear within 24 hours of your arrest.

What Happens If There’s a Delay?

It’s illegal for law enforcement to hold you longer than 24 hours without seeing a judge. If you’re held longer than that, it doesn’t mean that the case is automatically dismissed. Also, it doesn’t disqualify any evidence that the police may have seized during the arrest or a search. If you admitted responsibility for any of the charges and can show that the delay was created to force your confession, it may be suppressed. However, it won’t be suppressed simply because there was a delay. A private defense attorney who understands criminal law can investigate whether there was prejudice or force tied to the delay.

What Is a Probable Cause Hearing?

With a warrantless arrest, you must be granted a non-adversary probable cause hearing within 48 hours of your arrest if you’re being held in jail. However, the judge may order up to two short continuances. The maximum combined time for them is 48 hours. There may be one or two continuances that there may be difficulties obtaining the necessary proof. Once proof is available, the hearing must proceed.

If you’ve already been released from jail after your arrest, you can establish that your release conditions are significant and file a probable cause determination motion. You or your legal counsel only have 21 days to file this after the date of your arrest. With significant release conditions, the judge has seven days to make a determination about probable cause.

You’re not legally entitled to be in the room during the probable cause hearing. During this time, the judge may either hear a testimony or read a sworn statement from the officer who arrested you. It’s up to the judge to determine if you’re to blame or not. In most cases, the court finds a form of probable cause to proceed with the case. If the judge doesn’t find probable cause in the presented information, you can be released. If time limits were violated, you could be released.

If the court doesn’t do this, you can apply for release using a written motion. When the judge plans to release you, the prosecution only has 24 hours to present its probable cause. The court may file an indictment, and you must be released on your own recognizance when that happens. If you’re released without an indictment, the judge can still reconsider the probable cause hearing. This is why it’s helpful to have a skilled attorney who can advocate for you.

Contact a Volusia Criminal Defense Lawyer

Since criminal charges may come with severe penalties that can negatively affect your entire future, we recommend working with a private Volusia criminal defense attorney. At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., we work hard to achieve your unique case’s most favorable outcome.

Our attorneys have nearly 50 years of experience defending challenging criminal cases. To learn how we can help you, please contact us for an immediate consultation. You can send us a confidential message, chat with a representative, or call our office 24/7.

Contact us today at (386) 693-1637 to schedule a consultation to learn your rights.