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If you are arrest and booked into jail, within 24 hours the Court holds a hearing call the "First Appearance Hearing." The judge will first advise you of the charges(s) for which you have been been arrested. The judge will then decide if the police had probable cause for your arrest. The judge will ask you if you wish to be represented by an attorney, and if so whether you can afford to hire private counsel. If you are financially unable to hire your own counsel, the judge will decide if you qualifies for a court appointed lawyer. At this hearing the judge also hears facts and decides whether a bond amount should be set and if so, how much. If the defendant is able to post the bond amount, he or she may be released pending trial. Our Constitution guarantees the right to release on reasonable bond, before conviction. Frequently, the Judge will include a special condition ordering the Defendant not to have contact with the victim.
In a probable cause arrest, the bond is preset pursuant to a bond schedule. The bond amount can be raised or lowered by a judge in initial appearance For a warrant arrest, the bond has been preset by a judge that has previously reviewed the case. Some charges require defendant to be held with no bond pending their appearance. Bonds are generally posted by a bail bond agent, or by a friend or family member of the defendant. A bonding agent posts a surety bond and normally requires a minimum of 10% of the total bond amount in cash. The bonding agent will require some form of collateral to cover the remaining balance of the bond. You may pay the bond in full without the assistance of a bonding agent. This may be paid using a cashier’s check, money order, or online. In some cases, bonds may change based on status of another charge, resident status or at the discretion of the arresting officer.
The State Attorney has the sole discretion whether to file formal charges. Even if witnesses don't want to testify, the State Attorney may still file charges. Pursuant to Rule 3.134 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, the prosecutor has thirty three days from the date of arrest to file formal charges. If formal charges are not filed within the thirty three days, the arrestee may file a motion for release. The court may then enter an order for release (ROR). The State can ask the court for an extension but they have to show good cause. The extension can be no more than forty days from the date of arrest. If the State doesn't file the charges within the forty day, the arrestee will be released from custody. However, failure to file charges within the forty days doesn't mean that the charges are dismissed.
An arrest in Florid can be made with or without a warrant. However, most arrests in Florida are made by police officers acting without a warrant. An arrest without a warrant is governed by Fla. Stat. §901.15, which identifies circumstances in which an officer may arrest without warrant. Chief among those is the exception for crimes committed in the officer’s presence, and the exception for felonies that the officer has a reasonable basis to believe were committed by the person to be arrested. See Fla. Stat. §901.15(1), (2), (3). See generally Thomas v. State, 614 So. 2d 468 (Fla. 1993) (arrest not proper when defendant only violated non-criminal municipal ordinance). The other salient portions of §901.15 allow warrantless arrests in situations involving domestic violence, possession of a firearm in violation of a domestic violence injunction, violation of pretrial release in a domestic violence case, child abuse, misdemeanor battery and graffiti-related criminal mischief, assault on a law enforcement officer, and trespass in a secure area of an airport. In addition, Florida statute expressly vests in federal law enforcement officers the power to make warrantless arrests and to perform related law enforcement functions. Fla. Stat. §901.1505(2)(a); Fla. Stat. §901.1505(2)(b)-(d).
Fla. Stat. §901.02 contemplates arrest by warrant. A warrant may be issued if the judge “from the examination of the complainant and other witnesses, reasonably believes that the person complained against has committed an offense within [the judge’s] jurisdiction.” See also Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.121. An arrest may also be made on the filing of a prosecutor’s information pursuant to Fla. Stat. §932.48:Upon the filing of an information, the clerk of the circuit court shall docket the information and shall, without leave or order of the court first being had and obtained, issue a capias for the arrest of the person charged; and the clerk shall likewise issue any and all other necessary process incident to the information.
LAW OFFICE OF HOWARD CURRIE, P.A.