What to Expect in Court?

By May 15, 2018Criminal Resources


What should I expect in court?

Cases in Brevard County and other Florida counties often proceed in the following sequence:

  • Arrest:    Bond may be set during booking or at 1stappearance in front of the judge.
  • 1stappearance:    Within 24 hours.  Probable cause is evaluated.  Bond is set.  An attorney may be appointed if the arrestee cannot afford one.  If an attorney appears, she can make argument against the probable cause finding and fight for a lower bond.  The case is assigned to a trial judge.  1st appearance may be skipped if the arrestee bonds out before seeing the judge.
  • Arraignment:    Defendant is advised of charges.  If needed, an attorney can be appointed.  Arraignment may be cancelled if Defendant hires an attorney.
  • Bond reduction motion, if needed.
  • Early Resolution (ER):    A day or two prior to ER, Prosecutors give defense attorneys a plea offer.  The Defendant may accept, attempt to negotiate better terms or reject the offer and set the case for a Docket Sounding with the trial judge.
  • Docket Sounding:  A scheduling date.  The case is either set for another Docket Sounding or, if the case is ready for trial, Calendar Call.
  • Calendar Call: A scheduling date closer to trial.  The attorney announces whether another continuance is needed or if the case is ready for jury trial.
  • Jury Trial:  If the attorney announces at Calendar Call that the case is ready for trial it is put on a list of pending trial cases.  Jury trials often start the Monday following Calendar Call.  The judge often schedules 5-10 cases for Monday.  The attorneys and clients show up ready to pick a jury.

If the Defendant is found ‘not guilty’ she is returned to the jail and released.  If she is convicted, the case proceeds to post-trial motions and sentencing.

For more information on jury trial, click:
Motions & Trial

Post-Trial Motions: Within 10 days of the verdict, an attorney can file a Motion For A New Trial or a Motion For Arrest of Judgment pursuant to Florida Rule 3.580.


Appeal:  Within 30 days, a defendant may appeal the jury verdict or sentence.
Criminal Appeals & Post-Conviction Motions

Post-Conviction Motions: The defendant may file post-conviction motions arguing involuntary plea, lack of jurisdiction, new evidence or ineffective assistance of counsel within 2 years from the date the conviction becomes final.  Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850.
Criminal Appeals & Post-Conviction Motions