You don’t know exactly what happened; you will swear every day that that much is true. All that you do know for sure is that you are sitting handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser, headed back to the police station. You have been arrested and are about to be charged with a crime.
The first thing you need to do is to remain calm and remember that you have the right to hire a qualified attorney to represent you, guide you and help you through the often confusing process. Before the police start asking questions or continue the booking process they will ask you if you would like to call an attorney. The answer to this question is always yes, regardless of how minor the crime may seem at first. (Small crimes can roll over into bigger crimes as the case progresses, so make sure that you are legally represented from the very start. Call a Largo attorney for advice and guidance that begins before your arraignment and takes you all the way to the final disposition of this case.)
The first thing that happens after your arrest will be your booking. You will be fingerprinted, photographed and possibly asked for a DNA sample. (This is one area that you will need to seek advice from the Largo attorney. Should you give this sample without court order prompting you to do so? Are you legally required to give such a sample?)
Following booking, you will be taken to a bond hearing where the amount that you must pay to get out of jail will be established. Florida law allows for some crimes to be considered non-bondable offenses and you will automatically be taken to a holding facility to await arraignment. For other cases, your bond may be delayed. For instance, you must first have an arraignment hearing before bonding out for domestic violence cases and you can bond out for DUI only after eight hours have passed or you are in full control of yourself again.
At the arraignment, the formal charges against you will be read and you will be asked to enter a plea. A Florida defense attorney will speak your plea for you and you will not have to speak at all unless specifically and directly instructed to do so by the court. After arraignment, you will be bonded out, released on your own recognizance or returned to jail until pre-trial.
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