What Happens to You After an Arrest in West Palm Beach, Florida?
"First Appearance" is held at the Gun Club compound 7 days per
week, 365 days per year. First Appearance is even held on all holidays.
So, even if you are arrested on a Friday, you will see the Judge on Saturday.
Likewise, if you are arrested on a Saturday, you will see the Judge on
Sunday. First Appearance Hearings are held in the morning. Typically,
it is held at 9:00 a.m. However, always call the Clerk's office to
confirm the time of the hearing, as the time for weekend hearings often
differ from the time this hearing takes place during the regular work week.
The purpose of having a First Appearance Hearing is two-fold: First, it
is the time at which the Judge will briefly review the police reports
to make sure there is Probable Cause for the arrest. Probable Cause, in
the context of criminal law, is the standard of proof required for an
individual's arrest. This standard of proof is very low. Second, if
the Judge finds there was Probable Cause for the arrest, he or she will
then determine if the arrestee is eligible for release.
Will the Arrestee Get Released?
In Florida, there are a number of ways an individual can be released. For
example, a Judge can release someone "OR," which means on their
own recognizance, or require "SOR," which is a supervised form
of release, or the Judge can order a monetary bond. In some cases the
Judge may order "House Arrest." Sometimes, the Judge may feel
it necessary to order some form of supervised release, along with a monetary bond.
The most common form of release is a monetary bond. In the State of Florida
- including West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Stuart, Boca Raton, Jupiter,
Boynton Beach, Delray Beach and Wellington - almost all crimes are "bondable."
In other words, the arrestee is entitled to a bond, absent a very few
Should I Hire a Lawyer Prior to the First Appearance?
Yes. You should hire a West Palm Beach criminal attorney before you are
arrested, if possible. But, if circumstances did not permit this, an attorney
should be hired by family or friends immediately upon your arrest. It
is important to start your defense preparations before the First Appearance
hearing. Call us. We can make a difference.
Be sure to hire a qualified attorney for representation at First Appearance.
Frequently, a monetary bond can be negotiated between the defense lawyer
and the prosecutor prior to the Judge taking the bench. If this occurs,
the parties advise the Judge that they have reached an agreed bond. Although
the Judge has the final say, the Judge usually accepts the arrangement
between the parties.
In the event your lawyer and the prosecutor cannot reach an agreement,
it is important to have an attorney present so he or she can present evidence
to the court, have family members heard, if appropriate, and present argument
for a low monetary bond, or an "OR" release.
Your attorney will be able to present evidence to the court that may not
otherwise have been known. Having a lawyer of your choosing will also
speed the process. The Judge will always take the cases first where a
private attorney has been hired. Once you are given a bond, the arrestee
is taken back to the holding cell and returned to the Jail where he or
she will wait until they are bonded out.
It is critical to begin your defense preparation prior to the First Appearance.
We may need to preserve crucial evidence that the police neglected to
gather. We have experienced investigators who can quickly speak to witnesses
and take statements if necessary. All four of our lawyers were State Prosecutors
in Palm Beach County. We know the system from both sides. This experience
is priceless in mounting the best possible defense from the beginning
of your case. We have been hired on numerous occasions, "to clean
up the mess" created by lawyers who lack diligence, lack experience,
or lack the time each case deserves.
How Do You Bond Someone Out of Jail?
There are two ways to get someone out of jail once the bond has been set
by the Judge. First, a friend or family member can pay the bond directly
at the Jail with either cash or a certified check. So, if the Bond is
set at $10,000.00, the person posting the bond must bring $10,000.00 in
cash or a certified check to the Jail before the arrestee can be processed
for release. This money is returned in full once the criminal case has
been completely resolved. Depending on the type of charge, a criminal
case can take anywhere from 45 days to a year or more to be completed.
The average time frame for a misdemeanor case is 4 months. The average
time for a felony is 6 months to one year.
The second way to post a bond is by hiring a Bail Bonds person. Once you
meet with the bonds person, he or she will go to the Jail and post the
bond on your behalf. Under Florida law, in State Court cases, the Bail
Bonds person is entitled to 10% of the total bond as his or her non-refundable
fee. A bonds person may also require collateral, typically, a house, before
they will post the bond. This is to ensure that the arrestee attends all
of his or her court hearings and does not flee. We can help you find a
reputable Bail Bonds person and navigate you through this very difficult time.
How Do I Find a Reputable Bail Bonds Person?
Be very careful when selecting a bonds person. All Bail Bonds persons are
required to follow the strict requirements of Florida Law in State Court
cases. A Bail Bonds person is legally allotted a fee in the amount of
10% of the total bond. Be cautious when selecting a Bail Bonds person.
There are many from which to choose. Be certain that you find an ethical
and experienced individual.
Remember, "Buyer Beware." If it sounds too good to be true, it
is! The Bail Bonds person is the individual monitoring you while you are
out of Jail. Again, it is very important that you hire an ethical, reputable
bonds person. We can provide you with assistance in making this important decision.
Why May I Not be Eligible for a Bond?
There are a very few offenses that are not bondable. These generally include
very serious crimes, like Murder and Capital Sexual Battery. However,
be aware, unbeknownst to most people, domestic violence charges, domestic
assault and or battery, drug trafficking and crimes involving a violent
act upon a person, are not automatically bondable. If arrested for one
of these offenses, you must be detained until you see a Judge the following
morning for First Appearance.
Is There a Way to Post a Bond Without Having to See a Judge at First Appearance?
Yes. As mentioned briefly above, there are many crimes which automatically
get assigned a bond amount, and do not require that you see the Judge
in the morning. Either you or your attorney can contact the Booking Department
at the Jail. You can also check the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
http://www.pbso.org/ and check the "Booking Blotter." Be aware that the booking process
takes many hours. As such, you may be unable to obtain any information
for several hours after the arrest. However, once the booking process
is complete, the arrestee will be officially booked in and you will be
able to obtain information regarding the bond as outlined above.
Just Arrested in Federal Court?
The arrest process differs substantially when arrested in Federal Court.
Once arrested, you will be brought before a Federal Magistrate to determine
if pre-trial release is appropriate. The Federal Probation Officer will
meet with you and conduct a thorough background check on the accused.
This interview will include prior arrest history, employment, family,
financial and assets. It is important to have an experienced lawyer with
the accused throughout all stages of a Federal prosecution.
The first hearing is a Detention Hearing. At this hearing the Federal Magistrate
will consider the strength of the government's case, the accused's
background and the Government's recommendation. At the Detention Hearing,
the accused's lawyer will be able to object to certain types of evidence
and present legal argument as to why the accused deserves to be released
while the case is pending.
Many Federal offenses, including all drug charges, come with the presumption
that the accused be detained and not be released.
If the accused is granted pre-trial release, it can be in the form of a
bond. One type is a Surety Bond. A Surety Bond carries a 15% premium,
or fee, to the Bail Bonds person. An accused can also sign a Personal
Surety promising to attend all court proceedings. An accused may be required
to post property or money directly with the Clerk of Court or a combination
of both. The Federal Magistrate can also impose restrictions on the arrestee.
Some of these may include travel restrictions, house arrest, surrendering
passport, drug testing and freezing of assets, such as bank accounts.
Will the Crime I Was Arrested for be the Same as the One I'm Ultimately
In State Court, the first 30 days following the First Appearance Hearing
are critical. You will have an "Arraignment" hearing approximately
30-45 days after your arrest. Law enforcement officers make arrests for
the crime they believe the evidence supports. However, it is the State
Attorney in State Court, or the U.S. District Attorney in Federal Court,
both referred to as the "Prosecutor," who make the final determination
of what exact crime(s) to charge the accused with.
Under Florida law, one person, an Assistant State Attorney, decides what
Felony an individual should be charged with. All Felony charges are determined
by this one prosecutor. The only exception is First Degree Murder, which
is brought before a Grand Jury.
It is very important to hire a West Palm Beach criminal attorney prior
to the Arraignment. It is critical to hire a trusted, experienced lawyer
who knows the inner workings of the prosecutor's office. At Perlet,
Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A., all four of our lawyers are former
prosecutors who are very familiar with the inner workings of the prosecutor's office.
Remember, unless you hire an attorney prior to the Arraignment, the only
evidence that the prosecutor, who is reviewing your case will have before
he or she charges you with a crime(s) is the negative, incriminating,
or one-sided version of events given to him or her by police officers.
There is always two sides to every story. Unless you immediately hire
a well-respected, trusted lawyer who can present the other side of the
story to the prosecutor, your side will NOT be heard until AFTER you are
charged with a crime; or, in other words, when it is too late to prevent
you from being charged with a crime.
Remember, a prosecutor has the power to drop or "No File" a charge.
A prosecutor also has the power to lower criminal charges from a felony
to a misdemeanor. Again, this is why it is so important to hire an experienced
criminal defense attorney who knows how both sides of the system work,
who knows what the prosecutor is looking for, and who knows what to present
in order to get you the best result possible.
Unfortunately, some police officers are trained salespeople. They hide
evidence that will exonerate or lessen the severity of the offense. Unless
you have an aggressive, well-trained criminal defense attorney who knows
how to attack and challenge the presentation of evidence as put forth
by law enforcement, you may be charged with a crime that is unwarranted,
or of which you are completely innocent. Unless you have a respected criminal
defense attorney aggressively advocating for you, the chances of you having
your charges "No Filed" or lowered are very slim.
What is more important that your life? Why would you not want a lawyer
who has experience with both sides of the criminal justice system? Call
us now. We understand the enormous strain you are undergoing. We understand
the urgency of your situation. Our guarantee is to provide you with 100%
commitment and excellence. We would expect no less for our loved ones,
and we provide no less for yours. Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh,
P.A. represents clients throughout Florida, including West Palm Beach,
Boca Raton, Lake Worth, Jupiter, Wellington, Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach