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Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer > Blog > Criminal Defense > What Defendants Need to Know About Florida’s Criminal Justice System

What Defendants Need to Know About Florida’s Criminal Justice System


Taking time to understand the intricacies of Florida’s criminal justice system and make decisions with a clear head is essential for anyone facing criminal charges. When you connect with a skilled Clearwater criminal lawyer, they can offer insights into arrest procedures, bail, arraignment, pre-trial motions, trial, and sentencing so you will fully comprehend your options moving forward.

Arrest Procedures, Bail, and Arraignment

The criminal justice process usually begins when an individual is arrested. Florida law enforcement officers must have probable cause in order to make an arrest and the charged individual should remember their rights throughout the arrest process. For instance, you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Exercise these rights and refrain from providing any statement that could be self-incriminating.

After an arrest, bail could be discussed. Bail is a monetary amount set by the court to secure the defendant’s release until trial. When determining if bail is an option, a judge will consider various factors, including the severity of the charges, the defendant’s criminal history, and if the charged individual is a flight risk. Skilled defense lawyers will advocate for reasonable bail and explore alternatives to incarceration, such as pretrial release programs.

Once bail is set, an arraignment process will follow. During this stage, the defendant is formally informed of the charges and asked to enter a plea. Plea choices include guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Consulting with a criminal defense lawyer before entering a plea is important as this decision can have significant implications on a case. Legal professionals can provide valuable advice on the best course of action based on the specific circumstances.

Motions, Trials, and Sentencing Considerations

Before a case goes to trial, there is a pre-trial phase. At this point, defense lawyers will review evidence, challenge document admissibility when appropriate, and file pre-trial motions. These motions could address issues from the suppression of unlawfully obtained evidence to the dismissal of charges based on legal deficiencies.

Sometimes a resolution will be reached before a case goes to trial, but if the case proceeds, an attorney will use their knowledge of the case and legal background to present a robust defense strategy and cross-examine witnesses. When you actively participate in your defense, providing information to your lawyer and maintaining open communication throughout the trial process, it can strengthen your defense.

The sentencing phase begins if a defendant is convicted or pleads guilty. Sentencing could involve fines, probation, community service, or incarceration, depending on the nature of the offense and the defendant’s criminal history. The defense team will continue to advocate for their clients at this point. For example, a seasoned Clearwater criminal lawyer can advocate for leniency and present mitigating factors that may influence the judge’s decision.

Could a criminal attorney help you? Moving through the Florida criminal justice system requires a strategic and informed approach. Working closely with the legal team at King Law Group means you can access the guidance you need to protect your rights. Schedule your free consultation today.

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