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Emergency | First Appearance Division

COVID-19 update: As of September of 2020, the public could attend court remotely using Zoom for Division O – First Appearance Court with The Honorable Judge Catlin by using https://zoom.us/j/4974569011 ID: 497-456-9011 PW: Not Required. Check with your attorney before you decide whether to attend court in person or remotely on Zoom.

Florida statutes give an inmate the right to appear before a judge within twenty-four hours of their arrest. In Hillsborough County, FL, these first appearance hearings are conducted through the use of the Court Video Network that enabling inmates to appear before a judge in Hillsborough County’s Tampa Courthouse without having to leave 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 located at the main courthouse in downtown Tampa.

The Judge and Prosecutor in the courtroom are able to see and hear the inmates through the closed-circuit television. One attorney with the Public Defender’s Office is assigned to each of the rooms 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 at the courtroom at the main courthouse so that they are in the same room as the judge and the prosecutor. Additionally, observers and witnesses also appear in the courtroom at the main courthouse.

Attorneys for First Appearance in Tampa, FL

If your loved one was just arrested and needs an attorney to appear in the morning at the courthouse in Tampa, FL, for first appearance court, then contact us today. 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 be able to 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, there is one judge assigned to the first appearance division.

This article was last updated on Thursday, September 3, 2020.