After an Arrest
Once you've been arrested, the police are going to take you down to
the station for booking, during which time they will take pictures, fingerprints,
ask you a series of questions and get your personal identifying information
such as your name, home address, and your birth date. You may also be
asked to participate in a lineup, or give a sample of your handwriting.
Your personal property such as your wallet or purse will be confiscated
and you will be held in a holding cell.
If you have been detained, but not booked, you have the right to appear
before a judge with 24 hours to determine if you are eligible for pre-trial
release. Most people refer to this as "bond" or "bail".
Keep in mind that if you are in police custody, you have a constitutional
right to a "speedy trial," which usually means that the prosecutor
must decide within 48 to 72 hours (depending on the jurisdiction) if they
are going to file formal charges against you.
Once you've been arrested, you have the right to be arraigned without
an unnecessary delay, which is usually within 72 hours of your arrest.
At the arraignment, you will appear in front of the judge who will officially
inform you of the charges against you. This is an extremely important
time to have an attorney from our firm present because after reviewing
the facts of your case, we will be able to advise if you should plead
guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere, or "no contest." Nolo
contendere means that you do not contest the charges made by the government.
If you are placed in jail, there is a possibility that you may be able
to get out before your trial if you post bail or if you are released on
your own recognizance (ROR). With a ROR, the payment of bail is waived
on the condition that you agree to appear in court when it is required
of you. If you are allowed to post bail, you will have to front cash,
either through your friends or family, or through a bail bondsman. The
judge handling your case will decide whether or not bail is required.
The purpose of giving bail money to the court is their way of ensuring
that you will appear for all of your future court appearances. If you
fail to appear in court, the bail money will be kept and you will be re-arrested
and put back in jail.
Not all defendants will be allowed bail. When determining whether or not
bail will be allowed, the judge will take a number of issues into account
such as the nature of the crime, any history of failing to appear at your
previous court appearances, whether or not you are a flight risk and whether
or not you are a threat to someone or to the community. For those accused
of dangerous crimes such as arson, aggravated assault or battery, child
abuse or aggravated child abuse, aircraft piracy, kidnapping, manslaughter,
homicide, sexual battery and others, the courts will determine whether
or not they would be putting the community at risk by allowing bail.
We may want to consider a plea bargain, in which case the prosecutor agrees
to a deal where the prosecution offers you an incentive, such as a shorter
sentence or reduced charges in exchange for the defendant agreeing to
Trial and Sentencing
In the United States, it's your constitutional right to have a speedy
trial. Once you've been arrested and criminal charges have been filed
against you, your trial must take place within a reasonable time after
your arraignment. You have the right to a trial by jury if you are charged
with a crime that is punishable by six or more months of jail time and
you also have the right to request a bench trial, which is a trial before
a judge instead of a jury.
If you are found guilty in a trial or if you plead guilty, the judge will
determine your sentencing and penalties which may include paying a fine,
jail or prison sentencing, victim restitution, or probation. On the other
hand, the judge may recommend alternative sentencing such as community
service or completing a drug rehabilitation program, which is preferred.
After someone is convicted for a crime and sentenced, they have the opportunity
to file an appeal. An appeal is not a complete retrial of the case, rather
it's an investigation into the trial record in order to ensure that
there weren't any errors involved in the trial such as a lack of evidence
to support a guilty verdict, jury misconduct, allowing inadmissible evidence,
or if there was any newly discovered evidence that may prove the defendant's
innocence of the crime in question. Our law firm has tried hundreds of
cases since 1978, and we can also handle death row inmate appeals and
post-conviction (3.851) motions. If you've been arrested for a criminal
offense in Florida or are facing arrest,
contact an attorney from Taylor & Taylor at once!