What happens at first appearance court in Jacksonville?

When you are arrested in Jacksonville, you are entitled to go in front of a judge within 24 hours to review your detention. If you have been arrested for certain misdemeanors, such as petty theft, your bond is set by the jail. You can bond our prior to court and will get a future court date. If you have been arrested for domestic battery or DUI in Jacksonville, you will have to wait until you go before a judge to find out what your bond will be or if you are released on your own recognizance. (ROR)

The judge who is in first appearance can resolve misdemeanors only. That means if you want to enter a plea to the charge you were arrested for, you can. The judge or the assistant state attorney will make you an offer and you can enter a plea of no contest, a plea of guilty, or a plea of not guilty.

If you are facing felony charges in Jacksonville, you will also have to go before a judge to determine the terms of your release. The first appearance judge will not resolve any felony charges in that courtroom. You will be given a bond or released to come back on a future court date. During the time between your arrest date and your next court date, the state attorney’s office will make a decision about what to do in your felony case. They can file the charges you were arrested for, bump the charges to a misdemeanor, drop the charges, or send you to a diversion program. That is why it is important to contact a Jacksonville criminal attorney as soon as possible.