You or your loved one have been arrested or charged with a crime, now what? Depending upon the type of case, bond may be able to be immediately posted. Other cases require that the bond and conditions of bond are set by a Judge. For those cases, it is typically not the best time to go it alone. An appearance is made at initial appearance or IA, where your attorney can start arguing on your behalf. The attorney can argue that there was no probable cause for arrest, that a reasonable bond should be set, that a no contact order either is or is not appropriate, or in some instances that you should be released on your own recognizance (ROR) without having to post any bond.
After IAs, the State has ninety (90) days from the date of arrest on misdemeanor cases and one-hundred seventy-five (175) days from the date of arrest on a felony case to bring you to trial under your Constitutional Rights to a Speedy Trial. This means that most misdemeanor cases will move at a faster pace than felony cases.
Misdemeanor cases typically have three major court dates:
- Pre-Trial Conference
Felony cases typically have four major court dates:
- Case Management
- Pre-Trial Conference
If you or your loved one is in custody, the State Attorney’s office has up to thirty-three (33) days after arrest to file an Information, or a formal charging document, that lets you know what charges they are prosecuting. An attorney can file motions on your behalf to demand your release from custody if no Information has been filed within that window.
If an Information has been filed, or if you receive a Notice to Appear or a Criminal Traffic Citation has been filed, the next court date is Arraignment. Arraignment is where the judge reads the charges to you and you are able to enter in your first ‘plea’ to the charges you are facing. There are three ‘pleas’ that an individual can enter. “Guilty”, which means “I did it, go ahead and sentence me,” “No Contest,” which means “I don’t admit it, but I don’t deny it, go ahead and sentence me,” or “Not Guilty,” which means I did not commit the crime and I wish to proceed to trial.
Initially, a plea of “Not Guilty” is entered for most cases. This doesn’t necessarily mean the case is going to trial, but it provides your attorney with time to examine the facts of the case, participate in discovery to find out what evidence the State has against you, see what laws apply, and help you determine if the case is one you should take to trial or if there are any other legal remedies to help you resolve your case.
The next few court dates are status dates that allow the court to be kept up to speed on where your case is in regards to the trial calendar. Your attorney can waive your appearance at some of these dates to minimize the impact court appearances have on your daily life and work schedule. Depending upon your individual case and the facts, there may be more court dates in between arraignment and trial.
Sometimes cases can be resolved quickly, other times it makes sense to take time and make sure that every legal tool is exhausted. The Colbert Law Firm recognizes that not every case is the same, and no one strategic plan fits all. Each client deserves comprehensive legal care to ensure your legal rights are protected. Call 407-412-7234 to discover how the Colbert Law Firm can fight for you!