While it is best to have a solid understanding of your legals rights prior to an arrest, it’s generally not something people think about until it’s already happening. This leaves many people at the mercy of law enforcement officials, criminal defense attorneys and family members to take care of the details. The process after an arrest is a complicated one. If a close friend or family member contacts you after an arrest, it is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately for legal counsel.
What You Can Expect After an Arrest
Immediately following the arrest, you will be taken to a local jail. By Florida law, within 24 hours, you will appear in front of a judge. This hearing is called a First Appearance. The purpose of this hearing is for a Judge to determine if there is probable cause to keep you in custody, if you are eligible for bail, and conditions of release.
Bail is Important
Bail is the amount of money that your family will have to post to get your out of jail. Typically a bail bondsman will ask for 10% to bond you out. So, if your bail is $20,000.00, you will need $2000.00 to get out. To set bail, the Judge will look at a variety of factors, such as how likely is it that you will not show up to the next court appearance, do you have any prior criminal history, do you have family in town, what about a job or other ties to the community. If the crime involves a victim, such as domestic battery, than the conditions will likely include a “no contact order” with the victim.
At first appearance, I would urge you not to enter a plea before your case or cases are evaluated by an attorney. Remember every case is different and you have a right to counsel. You might have defenses, and once you enter a plea, you are waiving your rights and defenses.
If you are able to post bail, you will be given your next court date, at which you must appear.