First Appearances in Florida State Courts
Once you have been arrested in Florida, you will be brought before a judge or magistrate within 24 hours for a First Appearance. At the First Appearance, the judge will tell you what you are charged with and advise you of your Constitutional rights. If you are entitled to be released, the judge will set a bond and/or impose non-monetary conditions for your release. In many Florida counties, there will be an Assistant State Attorney present at First Appearances to tell the judge about your criminal history and to argue for a bond or conditions of release that the State wants imposed. Sometimes, the judge will ask you questions. Usually, these questions are about your financial condition to determine an appropriate bond. Even so, the things you say are usually being recorded and your statements may be used against you later on. While many Florida counties will have an Assistant Public Defender present at First Appearances for the limited purpose of representing people at this initial hearing, the Public Defender will usually not know much about your case or you. This is why, if possible, you should hire an attorney from Lavely & Whyte, P.A. BEFORE your First Appearance. That way, we can appear on your behalf and explain your financial condition to the Court or present testimony from your friends or family to explain your financial situation. If necessary, we can question you about your financial resources to try to limit the things you have to say on the record. It is important to note that this discussion of First Appearances in Florida state courts is a very general one. There are many statutes, rules of procedure and prior court decisions which affect First Appearances in Florida state courts, and you should speak with a qualified attorney- such as Board Certified Criminal Trial lawyer Stephen Mathew Whyte at Lavely & Whyte, P.A.- about First Appearances in Florida state courts if you have any questions about this area of the law.