Wednesday, March 18, 2015


If you've just been arrested Tampa Bay the first thing to know is that the criminal justices system in Clearwater, Florida runs as slow as your uncle's old chevy with half a million miles. Florida's criminal justice system was not designed for speed though one might have hoped it would have been designed to provide justice. 

It doesn't matter if you're innocent or guilty, your trip thru the criminal courts of Florida will be numbingly time consuming, sapping your life energy, challenging your hopes and destroying your relationships. And all of this will happen even before your first court appearance. 

Be warned that the process of arrest for a criminal felony or misdemeanor is merely the beginning. Once you've paid bond or hired a bondsman usually for ten percent of the total bond, you'll be free to wait for six months or longer for your case to be resolved. 

The first hearing date you'll be given is the arraignment. If you hire a criminal defense lawyer, then you won't have to attend the arraignment because the paperwork the attorney files with the Pinellas Clerk of Court and sends to the prosecutor satisfies the conditions and requirements for that hearing. But after the arraignment there will be a new Pretrial scheduled at the judge's convenience every month. 

You'll need to plan on attending every pretrial conference while your case is pending. Yes, most judges understand that attending pretrials can become exhausting as well as problematical with pre-existing work and family obligations. But failing to attend a pretrial often results in the bond being revoked and an arrest warrant being issued. That's why it's very important to call your defense lawyer if for any reason you may not be able to attend a pretrial. 

So an arrest is just the beginning. Now the real work for your defense lawyer begins by persuading the prosecutor and judge during the early stages of the case that you are not just a case number and that you should be treated with fairness