What happens after I have been arrested?

What happens after I have been arrested?
Often times people are unsure of the procedure or how the court process works after they have been arrested.  Assuming that you are given some type of bond and post it after your arrest, the jail will provide you with your first court date, which is your arraignment.  If you plan on hiring private counsel, it is wise to consult with them prior to your arraignment so that they can file a notice of appearance on your behalf and waive your arraignment, which means you would not have to attend that court date.  If you have not retained counsel prior to your arraignment, you MUST attend or the court will issue a failure to appear and will likely revoke your bond. If you go to your arraignment, having not hired private counsel, the court will inquire as to whether your wish to use the services of the Public Defender.  If you qualify financially, the court will appoint a Public Defender on your case. Procedurally, the arraignment date is when the State formally charges you with what law(s) they believe you have broken based upon your initial arrest.  At the arraignment the court will also announce your next court date which in county court (for misdemeanor charges) is called your plea day and it is typically a month or so out from your arraignment date.  In circuit court (for felony charges) the next court date is called docket day and it is typically a couple of months out from your arraignment.  In between your arraignment and your docket day, your attorney conducts discovery, takes depositions, negotiates plea offers and files any legal motions that might be available on your behalf.  Assuming the case is not resolved via dismissal prior to plea/docket day, it is your decision at that point based upon discussion with your attorney/advice from your attorney, whether or not you would like to accept a negotiated plea offer or take your case to trial.  If you have any further questions about the court process or other matters involving a crime you have been accused of, please contact me at Ferry & Ferry and I will gladly provide information based upon my 18 years of experience practicing criminal defense.
Chris Ferry, Attorney at Law

What is 10-20-life in Florida?

In 1999, led by then Gov. Jeb Bush, the 10-20-Life statute was passed. It established bright line minimum mandatory sentences for defendants who used a firearm while committing a crime. Between July 1, 1999 and July 1, 2016, if you had a firearm on your person during a felony, you received 10 years; if you fired it, you received 20 years. If someone died during the commission of a felony and a firearm was used, the defendant automatically received a life sentence. Minimum mandatory sentences remove any discretion that a Judge usually has when a defendant is sentenced. In 2016, Gov. Rick Scott removed from the minimum mandatory sentence from the crime of aggravated assault. The previous statute included defendants who fired warning shots, or those that were not intended to cause any harm but to scare away a possible attacker.

  • As it stands today, if you carry a firearm on your person in the commission of the listed felonies, you automatically receive at least 10 years in jail:
a.     Murder;
b. Sexual battery;
c. Robbery;
d. Burglary;
e. Arson;
f. Aggravated battery;
g. Kidnapping;
h. Escape;
i. Aircraft piracy;
j. Aggravated child abuse;
k. Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;
l. Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb;
m. Carjacking;
n. Home-invasion robbery;
o. Aggravated stalking;
p. Trafficking in cannabis, trafficking in cocaine, capital importation of cocaine, trafficking in illegal drugs, capital importation of illegal drugs, trafficking in phencyclidine, capital importation of phencyclidine, trafficking in methaqualone, capital importation of methaqualone, trafficking in amphetamine, capital importation of amphetamine, trafficking in flunitrazepam, trafficking in gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), trafficking in 1,4-Butanediol, trafficking in Phenethylamines, or other violation of s. 893.135(1); or
q. Possession of a firearm by a felon (Only 3 years if a first possession, 10 years if more)
(If burglary of a conveyance, 3 years minimum if a firearm is possessed.)
  • If you caused great bodily harm or killed someone while committing one of the crimes above, you will serve no less than 25 years.
  • The number of years is increased if a semi-automatic firearm is used. If a defendant possesses a semi-automatic firearm, it is an automatic minimum of 15 years. If one is fired, 20 years. If one kills a person, 25 years minimum.

Can I expunge my arrest?

Most crimes with few exceptions can be expunged (removed) if the case was subsequently dismissed. The majority of any sexual related offense is not subject to expungement,  nor a drug trafficking offense.

Many first time defendants are given a diversionary program option. If you complete the program, the state attorney will then dismiss the case. It could also be if the Judge dismisses the case based on for instance a suppression issue. Keep in mind that you only get this option ONE time. If your case is not dismissed but the Court withheld adjudication (did not convict you), you may be eligible to have the case sealed. A sealing will prevent the average person from being able to discover it. Keep in mind though that military, law enforcement and academia can still see it even if it is sealed. With an expungement, the records are actually destroyed. The link below is the statute itself with links to the offenses that prohibit expungement or sealing.

Our office does handle expungements and sealing. Sometimes the process is 2-3 months, sometimes as much as 6 dependent upon how backlogged the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is at the time of the application. Call us today at (850) 469-8118 to see if you qualify.





Can a grandparent be arrested for interfering with custody of their grandchild?

Absolutely! In Florida, Section 787.03 provides that whoever, without lawful authority, knowingly or recklessly takes or keeps a minor child from their lawful guardian, even if in foster care, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. This can also apply to parents.

Grandparents who may have  rocky relationship with their own child or the other parent of the grandchild, should have something in writing which allows you to have possession of the child, even if it is a handwritten note signed by the parent. Take that extra step to protect yourself.


Can I leave my child alone in the car?

I think there is an unwritten rule that every parent has heard if not repeated, “Never wake a sleeping baby.” I’d suggest breaking the rule if your child is in a car. According to Florida Statute 316.6135, you cannot ever, for any period of time, leave your child unattended if the child is less than 6 years of age in a car with the engine on.  It is a traffic citation.  You then would have to look at the word “unattended.” For instance, if you could still see your child from a store window, is that unattended? Now if you leave a child under the age of 6 in the car when the engine is off or on, for more than 15 minutes you can be charged with a second degree misdemeanor. A second degree misdemeanor is punishable by 60 days in the county jail and up to 60 months on probation. If great bodily injury happens as a result of the child being left alone, it is then a 3rd degree felony. (Up to 5 years in prison.)

What is interesting, is in Florida (hot as heck in the summer), that means it is not a crime to leave your child in a hot car for up to 15 minutes. That doesn’t make any sense. Easier to embrace the crankiness of your child, and wake him/her up.


If you a pedestrian, what part of the street do you walk on?

Florida in my opinion is a pedestrian state. People like to walk and or run since our weather is generally so pleasant despite the latest rain. However, where sidewalks are provided, pedestrians are prohibited from  walking along the portion of a road paved for vehicular traffic. When sidewalks are not provided, any pedestrian walking along  the highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the shoulder facing traffic which may approach from the opposite direction. The fine is only $15,  but that’s $15 I want to keep.http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?mode=View%20Statutes&SubMenu=1&App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=pedestrian&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.130.html

Can I install spyware on my spouse’s phone or computer?

Can a husband or wife install spyware on the other spouse’s phone or computer? You can certainly keep and use text messages or voicemails or even Facebook posts from the other party, but intercepting and saving communications that were intended for the other party is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida for the first offense, and a 3rd degree felony for subsequent offenses if for commercial gain or destruction. In other cases, it is a second degree misdemeanor. Read the statute below for thinking about planting spyware.

What can happen to me if I get caught using a fake id to get into a club?

Any person who changes a driver’s license by either giving a false age on a driving application or identification card or by possessing a driver license or identification card,  on which the date of birth has been altered is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.  One can be punished by 6 months of probation or 60 days in the county jail. If you, however, create a counterfeit driver’s license/id card, or possess someone else’s license, it is a felony in the third degree, punishable up to five years in state prison or 3 years probation.  Needless to say, wait til you are 21!


See http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0300-0399/0322/Sections/0322.212.html

What am I facing if I violated my probation by failing a urine test for marijuana?

Asked 3 months ago – DUI w/ possession of a small amount of marijuana. Received 12 months probation, classes and counseling, fines and community service. I’ve been on probation for almost six months, completed classes and counseling, up to date on fines and have been doing community service. This is my first violation and my PO is more than likely going to recommend house arrest. I’m turning myself in tomorrow night, what can I expect?

Florida statute 316.193(2)(a2) allows incarceration for up to 6 months for a first time DUI conviction and a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000 for a first conviction. The marijuana charge is a first degree misdemeanor that carried with it a possible jail sentence for up to one year. Generally if you are sentenced to jail the sentence on both charges would run concurrently. You may qualify for work release if in fact you are sentenced. You should expect to sit in jail until the judge with whom you are on probation is on the bench. If you are going to hire an attorney to address this, I would consult with one prior to turning yourself in.

If I am pulled over without having my driver’s license on me, will I get arrested?

The answer is maybe. If your driver’s license record is checked by the law enforcement and it shows that the license is in fact suspended, the officer has discretion to arrest you because it is in fact a crime to knowingly drive without a valid driver’s license. It is common for a driver to not know his license is suspended. If your license record is checked by the law enforcement and it is not suspended, they can issue a $10.00 citation if you show proof of having a valid license at the Clerk’s office in the county is which you were stopped. If you don’t show proof by the due date, the fine goes up to $113.00