First Appearance

The criminal process begins when an individual is either arrested, or receives a “notice to appear.” When an individual is arrested, the criminal process continues immediately. The defendant is required to make a first appearance in court within a day or two of being arrested. If and individual has received a notice to appear, the process is different. A notice to appear is a written order by a law enforcement officer in lieu of physical arrest and/or booking of a defendant that requires the defendant to appear in court at a certain date and time. It is not uncommon for the arresting officer to issue individuals a notice to appear for first or second degree misdemeanor offenses after determining the defendant is not a threat to him/herself or the public.

A booking officer can issue a notice to appear if he or she believes, after investigation, that the defendant has a strong likelihood of appearing based on factors like residence in and/or ties to the community, employment record, and past criminal record. Once the notice to appear is issued in both circumstances, the defendant is released from custody. It is important to contact an experienced Duval County defense lawyer before you make your first appearance in court. Your attorney can guide you through the criminal process, and ensure that you are making the best legal decisions possible.


If you have been charged with a crime in Jacksonville, Neptune Beach, Baldwin, St. Augustine, Penney Farms, Hilliard, or the surrounding areas, contact Roelke Law. Bill Roelke will work closely with you throughout the legal process to make sure you are well-educated on all the aspects of your defense.

Call Roelke Law today at (904) 354-0333 for a consultation on your criminal charges. Your first consultation is free, and is a key instrument in helping you better understand the charges against you.

First Appearance in Florida

The purpose of the first appearance is to serve the defendant with what he or she is being charged with, ensure he or she has legal counsel, and to determine if there will be any bail or other form of pretrial release for the defendant.

According to Rule 3.130 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, an individual arrested and charged with a crime must appear before a judge in person or by an electronic audiovisual device within 24 hour of their arrest. At the defendant‘s first appearance the judge shall immediately inform the defendant of the charges against him or her, and provide the defendant with a copy of the complaint.

At the first appearance, the judge is required to advise the defendant that:

  • The defendant is not required to say anything, and that anything the defendant says may be used against him or her.
  • If unrepresented, the defendant has the right to an attorney, and if he or she is unable to afford an attorney, one will be appointed to them.
  • The defendant has the right to communicate with legal counsel, family, or friends, and if necessary, will be provided reasonable means to do so.

An official record of the proceedings shall be kept, and if there are errors made by the State, a skilled Jacksonville attorney may be able file pretrial motions to have your charges reduced or dismissed.

Roelke Law, P.A. | Jacksonville First Appearance Lawyer

If you are facing criminal charges in Jacksonville Beach, Baldwin, St. Augustine Beach, Keystone Heights, Fernandina Beach, or the surrounding areas, contact Roelke Law today for a consultation about your allegations. Bill Roelke is a dedicated Jacksonville defense attorney who will use his knowledge and deep understanding of the judicial system, to have the charges against you potentially reduced or dropped.

Contact Bill Roelke at (904) 354-0333 for a consultation about your case. Your initial consultation is free and is a critical step in defending yourself against your allegations.

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