If you have been arrested in Jacksonville FL, you have a lot of questions. The best way to get your questions answered is by speaking to a Jacksonville criminal attorney. You will likely want to hire a Jacksonville criminal lawyer to defend you in the matter. If you are innocent, you need someone to defend you against the false accusations. Even if you are guilty of the crime, you should still have someone that can help you with this bad situation and help you take care of your case in the best way possible.
After you are arrested, you are booked at the jail. A bond is set for you or one will be set at first appearance court. In first appearance court, you will have a bond hearing. If you were arrested for a felony, the judge will set the bond and give you another court date for your arraignment. If you were arrested for a misdemeanor, the judge will ask you if you would like to plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty. Sometimes, people will plead guilty or no contest to get out of jail. They are sentenced to time served plus court costs or probation. They do this without the advise of a Jacksonville attorney. They do not realize that this will be on their Florida criminal record. If you plead not guilty, the judge will usually set a bond or release you on your own recognizance. You will be given another court date.
If you did not dispose of your case in first appearance court, you will have a couple of weeks to talk to an attorney and try to hire a Jacksonville criminal lawyer before your next court date. The sooner that you do this, the better. After you are released from jail, the state attorney’s office will make a filing decision. Your attorney will want to present evidence to the state attorney before that decision is made. Your Jacksonville lawyer can also present mitigation.
Your next court date will be your arraignment. This is when the defendant receives the formal charging document. This is called an Information in Florida. The state attorney will often make an offer for a plea deal. You are not required to accept this offer. You should discuss with your attorney the state’s offer, counteroffers, and the possibility of a trial.
If your case does not work out at arraignment, they judge will pass your case for a pretrial date. The judge gives the attorneys a few weeks to either work the case out or prepare for trial. By this time, the defense has received the initial discovery packet from the state attorney. If you have been charged with a felony, your attorney will likely start taking depositions of the witnesses if you intend to go to trial. You may have several pretrial court dates or just a few. It depends on the case.
If the state attorney and criminal defense attorney work the case out, they will present the disposition and plea deal to the judge. If the judge accepts it, the case will be disposed of. If the attorneys do not work out a plea deal or the judge rejects the offer, the case could go to trial. This is why it is so important to communicate with your Jacksonville lawyer about the route you want to take in your criminal case.