Emergency | First Appearance Division
Florida statutes allow inmates to appear before a judge within twenty-four hours of arrest. In Hillsborough County, FL, these first appearance hearings are conducted using the Court Video Network, which enables inmates to appear before a judge in Hillsborough County’s Tampa Courthouse without leaving the secure confines of the jail, avoiding transportation costs and reducing the security risks.
During the first appearance hearings in Tampa, a fiber optic link connects the jails and the courthouse via closed-circuit television. The inmates at the Orient Road Jail and the Faulkenburg Road Jail appear on screens in the main first-appearance courtroom at downtown Tampa’s main courthouse.
The Judge and Prosecutor in the courtroom can see and hear the inmates through the closed-circuit television. One attorney with the Public Defender’s Office is assigned to each room at the Orient Road Jail and the Faulkenburg Road Jail. Another criminal defense attorney with the Public Defender’s Office also appears in the courtroom at the courthouse in Tampa, FL.
Private criminal defense attorneys also appear in the courtroom at the main courthouse so that they are in the same room as the judge and the prosecutor. Additionally, observers and witnesses appear in the main courthouse courtroom.
Attorneys for First Appearance in Tampa, FL
If your loved one was arrested, you could hire an attorney to appear at the courthouse in Tampa, FL, for first appearance court. We can ask the court to release the person on a ROR or signature bond to save money that would otherwise be required for the bail bond.
The first 21 days after an arrest are the most important time during the case. That is when the State Attorney’s Office decides whether to file felony charges in Circuit Court or misdemeanor charges in County Court. In some cases, the criminal defense attorney might convince the prosecutor to “no file” the case by not filing any criminal charges.
Let our experienced Tampa criminal defense attorneys put their experience to work for you.
Call 813-250-0500 today.
Procedures for First Appearance Court in Hillsborough County, FL
The first appearance hearings are conducted by live two-way video preliminary presentations in all criminal cases for:
- bond and ROR motions;
- arraignment hearings for incarcerated defendants;
- bond hearings for felony charges in Hillsborough County;
- misdemeanor violation of probation hearings for incarcerated defendants; and
- other emergency criminal matters.
In Hillsborough County, one judge is assigned to the first appearance division.
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