law offices of HOWARD CURRIE, P.A.

Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

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The contents of this website should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice in any manner whatsoever ; may be considered advertising under some states’ Bar Rules ; and do not establish an attorney/client relationship with this law firm. Unless otherwise stated, no article or text on this Internet site is, has been, or will be updated or revised for accuracy as statutory or case law changes following the date of first publication. Always consult with your lawyer, and/or your other professional advisors, before acting. 

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FIRST APPEARANCE

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. 




ARREST


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.

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