A first appearance in court following a Miami domestic violence arrest can be nerve-wracking. It’s important to keep a cool head and educate yourself on what to expect – and what will be expected of you.
While many of the procedural aspects of a first appearance on a Florida domestic violence charge are similar to what one would expect in any other criminal matter of a similar severity, there are a few differences about which you’ll want to be aware.
Our Miami domestic violence defense lawyers will start though by outlining the purpose and basics of any first appearance in a Florida criminal court.
Purpose & Expectations of First Appearance
The main point of a first appearance – in Florida and most other states – is to:
- Formally serve the defendant with the charges they are facing.
- Inform the defendant of their right to an attorney. If you’re financially unable to afford a lawyer, the court can appoint one to you. (This only applies in cases where you’re potentially facing jail time – which is most domestic violence charges.)
- Inform the defendant that they are not required to say anything, and that anything they do say can be used against them.
- Inform the defendant of their right to communicate with counsel, friends, or family, and if needed, provide the reasonable means to do so.
- Inform those facing felony charges of their right to a preliminary hearing.
- Sets the defendant’s bond (if applicable) and pretrial release conditions.
Typically, it’s over in a space of about 15 minutes. It can go faster if the judge has determined prior to the first appearance whether the defendant can afford a lawyer and if not, whether one should be appointed by the court. Continue reading